Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Say Hello and Wave Goodbye

“I think if I've learned anything about friendship, it's to hang in, stay connected, fight for them, and let them fight for you. Don't walk away, don't be distracted, don't be too busy or tired, don't take them for granted. Friends are part of the glue that holds life and faith together. Powerful stuff.
Jon Katz

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

Mark Twain

Getting ready and making my final preparations to leave America and head to New Zealand. It’s the biggest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I’ve been quite busy packing, repacking, sitting on suitcases to make them close, and worrying way too much about what I might be forgetting. I need to get over it.

Pretty sure they have toilet brushes over there. I probably don’t need to bring that.

It’s occurred to me that what’s infinitely more important is to remember to take some time to say goodbye to the people in my life. It’s amazing how quickly these things move to the back burner if you let them, and I’m pretty good at letting them.

While reflecting on this idea, I’ve picked up an earworm. I keep listening to the song “Say Hello and Wave Goodbye” by David Gray. It’s my experience that songs get stuck in our heads for a reason, and this one isn’t hard to figure out. Say hello and wave goodbye. Meaning for me at least, where did the time go with all these people in my life? Time is such a funny thing. Sometimes an individual day, or even an individual HOUR can feel like they last an eternity. Yet years can slip away. Even decades…

I’ve kept these feelings at bay by staying busy. Really busy. I’ve also been using beer. And yet they continue to creep back. Leaving America is saying goodbye to so many things. Goodbye baseball, the 4th of July, and the red white and blue. Goodbye to all the patients, friends, family, and familiarity that provide a sense of security that can’t be completely quantified. It’s a lot to give up, and a number of people have asked me why I would even want to.

In answering this question, I found myself thinking about a scene from the movie “Rounders.” In this particular scene, the lead character has broken even playing poker and started to walk away from the game. He says, “You can’t lose what you don’t put in the middle.”

Then he pauses, and thinks,

“But you sure can’t win very much either.”

That’s what risk is all about. Sure you can lose something; Safety, security, money, a feeling of comfort. If there was nothing at stake it wouldn't scare us. And if we never do anything that scares us?

We sure can’t win very much…

So as I wind down my last days in America, I remember to appreciate all of the things I love, including the people who all contributed so much to all these different chapters of my life. You will be missed. A lot. But for me it’s time to turn the page. You get one chance at this, and I don’t want to have any regrets.

It’s time to play another hand.

So hello again to everyone I've been catching up with over the last month or so. It's been wonderful seeing you again and remembering all the good times.

And goodbye..

Until we meet again..