Your Birthright to Joy

Posted on Fri May 31, 2024.

“The vast marvel is to be alive… The supreme triumph is to be most vividly, most perfectly alive” - D.H. Lawrence.

Couple strolling through Cape Winelands, Stellenbosch.

Did you know that in 2024 more voters than ever in history will head to the polls. At least 64 countries (a combined population of about 49% of the people in the world) will be partaking in national elections this year.

This week, 29 May, was that day for us, and as I stood in a queue longer than any I’ve ever seen before, I could not help but ponder what makes us humans exercise these rights. What is it that propels us forward to get up in any weather and queue with fellow strangers to stand for the inalienable right to cast a vote, the results of which will have a very real impact on our collective future. As I listened to conversations and opinions of people I will probably never know personally, but with whom I shared this experience, I had a moment where I realized that I was busy imprinting a memory on my heart and brain. A memory that I will cherish and perhaps share with my grandchildren one day. It was late afternoon and the sun shone through the most stunning clouds over Table Mountain. I stepped out of the queue for a second to take a photo.

Voting With a View of Table Mountain.

Of course, I had time to read and research and found that there is even a term for this acute awareness that a moment one is experiencing is in the process of being laid down as a memory. That term is dès vu and it is beautifully described in the dictionary of obscure sorrows by John Koenig. I urge you to watch this impactful short clip:

At the end of the day and at the end of one’s life, when all else is stripped away, our memories are what we are. It is what makes us. It is what captures the rich and deep dimensions of experience. It is how we share what we hold dear and how we communicate our values. Life really is a great and total miracle to be met with an open heart and with a resounding yes. It is here for us to experience to the full, to educate, to inform and to fill our memory banks. 

D. H. Lawrence said, “The vast marvel is to be alive… The supreme triumph is to be most vividly, most perfectly alive”. Think back on all your life’s travels. Find and hold those moments where time almost stood still for you with the awareness, the inner knowing, that a memory was being made. I hope you can recall many of these bittersweet moments. Bittersweet because we know that they will pass, as we also know that they will continue to exist for us long after, continuing to affirm our joy. A memory of a place visited will forever anchor you to that place and the people you experienced it with.

The value of a memory will not decrease over time
While the value of physical things like cars, houses and jewelry often decreases over time, the value of a memory keeps going up. It is, in fact, invaluable. Consider also that things (again, cars, houses, jewelry) are compared while experiences are shared. When we experience a breathtaking view, a cultural site, or a challenging adventure, it bonds us together. We don’t fall into a paradigm of who has more or better, we fall into what unites us.

Our wish for all this year is that you exercise your right to freedom, your right to experience life to the full and your birthright to make joyful memories.

With love

Therese and the Icon Villas Team