Feast on your life.

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Love After Love

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

Derek Walcott

I first read this poem in the preface to The Time Traveler’s Wife, my second-favorite book of all time (after The Sun Also Rises).

Many relate this poem to rediscovering one’s cultural identity, as Walcott did in his native St. Lucia and Trinidad.  Others, in a more literal interpretation, point to his failed marriages.

But to me, this is a poem for travelers.

We set out to see the world, defying convention, for no reason other than satisfying our insatiable desires.  Some call us selfish for this reason.

But who will be there with you at the end of the day?  Who will always be with you, no matter what?

Don’t get me wrong — if you find a partner, you’re very lucky.  But nobody can love you as much as you can love yourself.

So many of us live our lives for others, for things, for anything other than ourselves.  Over time, we gradually realize that we aren’t nurturing that which needs the most nurturing of all: our souls.

Answering the call to travel is a way to begin peeling back that layer.

Heed the call.  Dive in.  Nurture your soul — and soon you will be sitting at your own kitchen table, feasting on a meal for the ages.