“I Guess That’s Where My Heart Is.” – Why Being Sentimental Makes All The Difference
So, two days ago Maurice Sendak, the eternally beloved and internationally acclaimed children’s author and illustrator (most notably of Where The Wild Things Are) passed away at the age of 83.
In this interview back in 2009, he was asked to reflect on the nature of such weighty subjects as life and death. And his response was so endearing and straightforward and true, that I just had to share this video with all of you.
Basically, Maurice figures that life, despite its endless disappointments and struggles, is worth living because, to him, not living it would mean he would’ve missed out on a whole lot. He would’ve missed out on meeting and knowing all the wonderful souls that he has (both human and otherwise), he would’ve missed out on the joy of doing something that he truly loves and doing it well, and he would’ve missed out on the peaceful existence that comes with clinging on to your sentimental past.
I’ve always talked about how sentimental I am, and how I think something as common as a street can make my heart swell with memories. Just yesterday I went to the car wash and, as the car was getting swallowed in the machinery of soap suds and water sprays, I recalled how, as a child, I used to imagine the car was a sinking ship whenever my father used to take me on similar trips to wash his own car.
That sentimentality which, in some cases, may burden my life and trouble my choices, actually makes me so much happier than so many other people that I know. The fact that I can access so many hidden yet beautiful memories in my past, from childhood up until this day, puts every other horrible thing that may happen to me in perspective. In short, it doesn’t seem all that bad anymore.
And its not just remembering that makes a difference. We can all say where we were this morning, last week, or even last year. We can all recall our childhoods, our parents (and grandparents perhaps), and grown-up people before they were grown-up. Yes, we can all do these things. But how vibrant, how fleshed out, how living are those memories? How many of these recollections can we access beyond just remembering the event, or the day, or the person, but truly feeling it again?
For a lot of the people that I know these are a very few select, spare memories that are locked away in the deep, dark holes of their psyche.
But what if we could bring ourselves to re-experience the beautiful, happy, hidden moments of our past, even beyond our childhood? How optimistic and at peace would we be? How much more would we be able to cope with our current troubles and routines?
How much of a difference would being sentimental make in our personal lives? To me, it makes all the difference.
So, the next time you’re sitting idly (maybe waiting in line, at a red light, or in a car wash) try to fully recall and re-experience a sentimental moment in your past. And see for yourself what happens.
And maybe then we can all begin to understand what Maurice Sendak is talking about when he asks himself this lingering question:
“Why is my needle stuck at childhood? I don’t know, I don’t know… I guess that’s where my heart is.”
All my love!