Written by Swati
February 24th, 2023
The World is Your Oyster- And Your Pearl
Gentle waves crept along the shore, a mid-morning lullaby, I watched as a border collie eagerly threw herself into the lake in search of a tennis ball. There was a quiet chill in the air, but in the midst of dogs on walks and families on morning strolls I couldn’t help but be selfishly blissful to get this moment of utter peace along the shores of one of the most beautiful sights in Italy all to myself. It felt like my whole life was on pause, la dolce far niente. The sweetness of doing absolutely nothing. As the sun took her slow, hazy rise, I admired youth. What a beautiful thing. A little boy waddles to the shore and skips his first rocks while his parents watch in admiration of their little creation. Plum cake in hand, I realize that this must be life. All I need is what’s in front of me. The sweetness of sitting on a shore, dipping my toes in and letting inspiration take her rightful place rooted back in my heart. I’ve always been so fortunate to be surrounded by people who believed in me and shepherded me to roles and positions of greatness. With acceleration in school, leadership, and hobbies, I grew up with an innate need to make something of myself. And I found no shortage of opportunities or support, something I’m endlessly thankful for. But it also led to severe feelings of inadequacy and an inability to stop and appreciate anything for long enough to realize how much was put into it. It felt like life started and never paused from the age of eleven to twenty-one. I was constantly in preparation for something or in the process of something else. As the fog receded over the lake and the warmth of the sun settled into my bones, I think I finally understood simple pleasures, small joy. The waves are a smattering of stardust, diamonds atop water, hypnotizing to say the least. I knew I could spend hours there, and to no surprise, I was there from ten in the morning to five in the evening.
Gazing at the water, I reached another big conclusion: the world is your oyster- and she is your pearl. You are free to take anything she offers you, experiences, lessons, and life. And she will be everything beautiful in return: joy, sadness, excitement, and youth.
As the sun set over the alps, I felt a prick of tears in my eyes. How lucky am I to be alive in such a beautiful place in this crucial moment in my life? How perfectly have the pieces fallen into place so that I can see such beauty across the world at such a young age? Running to catch the bus after a pasta lunch with a gelato in hand in Bellagio with new friends studying abroad in Paris and London all the way from Harvard. If there’s anything I’m most thankful for, it’s the kindness of strangers and the shared experience of other young adults traveling Europe, as students or otherwise, and my newfound ability to strike up conversation and find new friends anywhere. This is the sweetness of youth, the excitement of freedom.
The same water that softens the potato, hardens the egg, the same lake that rounds the pebble, sharpens the rock. How fascinating it is that we are all living the same lives in such different ways, each on our own paths. Another little Italian boy skips rocks and I watch his small joy rocket as he runs up and down the shoreline, tossing in more pebbles and watching the ripples disappear. In the midst of his seashell collecting expedition, he sees me watching and runs up with a handful of seashells, depositing them carefully into my palm.
Existence is just a shout in the void, a ripple in the lake, footsteps along a shoreline, a stroke in a painting. How beautiful it is to know that you must not always shake the world whole.