“You know everything will be different when you come back.”
A few months ago I was talking to a friend about our trip and her response surprised me. Her comment wasn’t meant to be discouraging, but when I think back, I feel defensive. I want to say, “I know, that’s the point,” but I’m not sure I felt so certain at the time.
I’m realizing that most people don’t understand why we’re making this trip. Many think it’s just a long vacation. Some probably think we’re avoiding growing up and being careless. You have a good life, how are you affording that, etc. Everyone has reacted differently: my girlfriends, their husbands, our coworkers, old friends, family members… Some gave high-fives and hugs, others quietly encourage, while many quizzically ask why we haven’t gotten married yet or have baby fever? Some reactions feel like a nostalgic longing for the days before kids, obligation, and the worry that comes with being new moms and dads. Interestingly, our parents have been our biggest supporters, pushing aside their desire to become grandparents to encourage their grown children to continue youthful adventure. Not without some, “you better get to it” when you come back… which is fair :)
Work is another front… and I’m a little jealous of Paul’s situation. He can converse with his coworkers about our plans. They have been unexpectedly reassuring, boosting Paul’s excitement to go along with my crazy proposition. Our three month trip grew to six, and now almost eight. (Scuba diving, Kilimanjaro, and Mt. Fuji require some time to take on!) I hope that my colleagues are as enthusiastic when I feel comfortable enough to share with them.
I look back on the last two years of my life, and everything is already different. I was training for my first half marathon, beginning a painful and overdue breakup, anxious about losing the friends I’d established through a 5-year relationship, and just generally unhappy with where I was at in the world. Two years later, I’m crossfitting instead of running, those friendships are still there, albeit a little different, and in a place that feels like the beginning of a very happy life… appreciating this idyllic and exciting relationship while also spending more time with both of our families.
The only constant in life is change… so in another year from now, I don’t want things to just be different. I want to make my change conscious, revealing, treasured, and courageous. Defensive is fading to a little anxious, but mostly excited. I hope I will ultimately feel empowered, humbled, and grateful… All themes that come up when Paul and I talk about this big plan of ours.
Crossroads Daily Prompt: If You Leave