On finding happiness in fleeting moments

There’s a reason why Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is my favorite movie, besides the psychological aspect, the movie comes down to appreciating happiness in the fleeting moments of time, and really to not regret anything that ever made you happy. Appreciating fleeting moments is not always easy, there’s a bittersweet reflection that looks back at you, saying it will all be gone soon, but that is also the beauty they bring. For me, fleeting moments help me to stay completely in the present.


I met him when I first moved to Sydney back in October, he asked me out a couple months ago and we’ve been dating ever since. I don’t claim to believe it was anything serious, we both knew my end date from day one, but he was still someone who had a significant impact on my time in Sydney, if anything, simply because he was always a part of it.


Yesterday was supposed to be our final farewell, our last date, and night out on the town to say a proper goodbye to each other. It didn’t happen. He texted me when I was grabbing coffee in Double Bay, saying he thought it best if we left things as they are, no goodbye, everything left unsaid. Of course, it made me sad that I wouldn’t see him a last time, but I can’t say that I was surprised or even angry with his choice in avoiding a goodbye. I’ve had my fair share of goodbyes in my travels, and I’ve learned that everyone has to deal with them in their own way for their own closure, and I’m generally the one leaving so it’s only fair I give that to them.


I think what’s hardest to wrap my mind around, is that after Tuesday when I leave Sydney, I will never see this person again. We have no way to contact each other when I’m gone, things will be left as they were in Sydney.


Needless to say, yesterday was a bit more melancholy than usual, so instead of dwelling on what I couldn’t change I decided to turn to something that would make me really happy. Since I couldn’t imagine twisting myself into uncomfortable positions for yoga, even though the after feeling would be nice, I decided to turn to my other favorite: music.


I’ve been wanting to see a live show at the Opera House since before I can remember, and I almost let that slip by before I left Sydney. Even though I don’t have much extra money to spend with my upcoming travels, and I’m definitely short on time with preparation for my departure, I decided to give the evening completely to myself and just enjoy it. I caught a bus down to Circular Quay, bought a smoothie and wrote in the Botanical Gardens. I went to the Opera House and bought a ticket for the show playing that night, an indie rock band by the name of Yo La Tengo.


When I was waiting for the show, I sat and watched the sunset fall behind the buildings in the CBD, I walked around the Opera House taking in the different hues in the sky from different angles, and enjoyed the twinkling city lights when the sun was finally down. Sydney is one of the most gorgeous cities at night, and Circular Quay with the view of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House still takes my breath away no matter how many times I’ve been there or how touristy it may be.


I walked into the concert hall, and again I was taken aback by the grandeur, the architecture, and the beauty of where I was. I just simply enjoyed the moment I created for myself, enjoyed the happiness I found in that concert hall, listening to my favorite solace, music.


Last night was my way of saying goodbye, not only to the people who have had an impact on my time in Australia, but a way of saying goodbye to Sydney, my temporary home for the last 5 months. I only have a few more days left in Sydney, and a few more weeks left in Australia, and believe it or not, I don’t see it as something to be sad about.

I somehow have found that bittersweet happiness in the fleeting moments left in front of me. To accept, understand, and cherish the experience and time that I’ve been given here, and also to realize how ready I am now to move on to new adventures, new cities, and new moments.


Here’s my favorite song from last night, listen and enjoy:

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Mimi McFadden

Travel Writer/Blogger at The Atlas Heart
Mimi founded The Atlas Heart to create a community of travelers inspired to see the world. The Atlas Heart is a space where you'll find anecdotes on slow travel, craft beer, outdoor adventures, and all the eccentric bits in between that this world has to offer.
Mimi McFadden
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