Have you ever forecasted your own sadness? I said goodbye to my mom, dad and Baba today and the tears that welled were not for the moment but for Thanksgiving and Christmas and my parents’ 60th birthdays that we will not celebrate together. That sinking feeling in my chest was about three months early.
I went to school across the country and studied abroad inBarcelona. Carlos lived in Ohio and Spain for extended periods. We know what it’s like to leave family and have both experienced holidays without them. But for our sojourn in Australia the biggest difference is that the time period is to be determined only after we are settled. We have no idea if we’ll like it and want to stay a full year or if we’ll be back in six months ready to start our lives over in the Bay (or perhaps elsewhere). For the first time since college Carlos and I could live anywhere in the whole world right now. We have no jobs, no kids, no mortgage… no commitments period. It’s a strange and liberating feeling. But the openness of our travels makes it difficult to say goodbye because we can’t count on a timely reunion with our loved ones at home.
In typical David Lansing fashion, my dad gave me a profound birthday card yesterday. It was a lovely birthday by the way. I felt loved by all my friends thanks to facebook notes and I had a perfect dinner of fish tacos and ice cream in Laguna. I tagged along for an early morning hike with my mom’s hiking group in Crystal Cove and we followed that up with bloody mary’s and a bear claw at The Montage. If you are in the area, do yourself a favor and check out the beach in front of the hotel. It’s quite possibly the prettiest stretch of coastline you have ever seen. Anyway, back to the birthday card. He quoted Joan Didion who writes about lucky 27 (my new age):
“That was the year, my twenty-seventh, when I discovered that not all of the promises would be kept, that some things are in fact irrevocable and that it had counted after all, every evasion and every procrastination, every mistake, every word, all of it.”
Certainly this quote is open for interpretation but it acutely represents the feeling I had as I said goodbye today. There are so many unknowns as we pack up and leave our stable lives behind. Mistakes will be made. But after all, the adventure doesn’t start until things don’t go as planned. Another quote from my dad that I think helps explain my deeply routed desire to make this move in the first place is, “If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.”
Embracing the challenge and remembering why we chose to take this journey will help combat the holiday blues. I’ll still cry at Thanksgiving when there’s no turkey to be found but I’ll know that’s part of the deal. Sending my love to you.