The image of a suitcase in hand, stuffed backpack weighing down on your shoulders, a car waiting downstairs to take you to a journey can be exciting.
But that is also the moment I suddenly most want to stay.
The last look at the house to make sure everything is taken care of, that things will stay the way they are, is also the moment to be reminded certain things will not. My lovely flowers in the vase will be all wilted the next time I see them.
Flowers, additions of furniture, are all little efforts we make to better our living situations. There are bigger efforts, how we fled from evil weather, from ice and the changing season. All are evidence of restless attempts we are willing to make in order for our lives to be nicer, nicer, and maybe just a little bit nicer.
But what if the nicest of all is precisely when you have to leave?
What if you miss something the most only when it is about to end?
But ending is not all that bad. An ending brings a sense of permanence. We like stories because they end and after that they stay the way they ended. If our own lives stop changing it is boring. If other people’s lives stop changing it is reassuring.
Is it too bad to say I want to move on but want you to stay?
— Certainly one of the permanent things about me is that my writings come out maudlin. No matter how hard I try, a cheerful me cannot write. But I would always make sure it ends on a hopeful note.
So hello Long Beach, NIPS 2017, the most passionate crowd, the most dreamlike gathering. Hello to dreams that fly, ideas so full that can sink an island, parties so exuberant that keep our hearts afloat, and strings of memories that get to stay and never, ever, leave.