I’ve recently learned of the Portuguese word saudade. It’s known as one of those words similar to hygge that has no direct translation in English. Apparently it’s a word that describes the feeling of longing or nostalgia. Remembering a better time, and feeling wistful and sad that that time is in the past, or that the person you shared those moments with is no longer around.
Like hygge, no direct translation means nothing, because I understand this concept perfectly. I’m pretty sure it’s what I feel for London, the home of my dreams, the adventures I had that were bigger than my limits, the place I missed before I even landed and began my life there.
It’s what I feel for the love of my past. The moment of impact where – and I’m trying not to use the phrase, ‘our two souls recognized each other’ even though that’s exactly what it felt like – my brain sizzled and snapped to life and woke new parts of me up to the realization that maybe I had been dreaming too small for a very long time.
I’m quite sure I have saudade for the friends I feel like I’ve left behind, but who constantly show up in my life anyway. I feel it for the late nights spent dissecting our actions, describing things we had no idea were actually our goals and next steps. I have saudade for the moments I could feel myself growing, becoming and relaxing because of these very friends.
I am overcome with saudade for the years spent planning the years that were to come. For the hopes and expectations I decided made sense, only to live the things and do the things and feel the things and to realize it was all wrong. Real life was better and it was worse.
Saudade as a word is poetic and concise at the same time. It represents a feeling, describes a mood, explains a state of mind.
God, I love language. Without it, all my inside parts would be so heavy and would drag me down, down, down, I’m sure.
I love the way a moment, like the split second you hear a word you don’t recognize, can become a treasure that gets added to your tool box to help you untangle your world.
Saudade is a word that captures, that defines, that gives life to a feeling rooted deep.
I think saudade is meant or most often used as sad word, but I don’t think that’s where it ends. To feel longing, to miss, to wish to have back, can break a heart open, sure, but to have those memories, to have lived those experiences is the silver lining of saudade. I’m wistful because I’ve had, I’m sad because I’ve had, I’m wanting because I have had.
I’ve lived, I’ve been, I’ve seen, I’ve known, I’ve enjoyed, I’ve woken up to, I’ve come alive in those moments. Saudade, indeed. And yet, also, I’ve been seen, I’ve been known, I’ve been woken up with, I’ve been enjoyed, I’ve brought to life.
Sort of thankful for saudade, is what I’m saying.