Three months ago she left the country where she was born and raised and moved permanently to a different place half way around the globe. Trying to set up home in the United States had its vulnerable moments. Moments when you miss life as you knew it.
It was one such melancholy Monday when she saw an email sitting in her inbox confirming her best friends’ flight details to the United States. These two were as close as gum and glue. It was no surprise then that the news of her friends visit spiraled all that missing into an ecstatic euphoria, so much so that the next two odd weeks snowballed into eagerly awaiting the arrival of everything that symbolized familiarity.
The day finally arrived. What followed thereafter were nine days of pure back to back Kodak moments. From sightseeing in Chicago to partying on the beaches of Miami….Serene lakes in Dallas to handsome horses at nearby ranches….long countryside drives, big Indian lunches to Texan steak dinners…quick pizza meals on busy street corners and shopping at will. Downtown lounges were followed by chilled out conversations out on the deck. In an iconic attempt to have a grand finale, they even sky dived….free falling from 15000 feet up in the air seemed the perfect way to celebrate their time together! It was like the sky’s the limit; literally!
Every waking moment was utilized and yet there constantly remained a nagging unrest which only got worse as the days drew to a close.
It was a rushed morning at the airport. It was while her eyes frantically tried to follow her friend scurry through the crowded security line that she had her ‘moment of truth.’ Her manic compulsion to live these past nine days to the fullest, all the restlessness and anxiety suddenly became clear. For what apparently was just a holiday with a close friend, was far larger than life for her! Fond memories of so many people and places…family, friends, workplace, colleagues, her apartment, the city…. Standing in the distance, 5 feet-ten inches, weighing a hundred and sixty pounds, smiling whilst waving a hurried goodbye… was her life!
Breathing in with new awareness, she smiled and waved back in gratitude. Still smiling she turned to her husband and said, “Let’s go home!”
Notes from my desk: Life is a collection of our memories. Living it surely is much more. Now, of course, thinking happy thoughts from your past is great, they will act to reinforce the present joys in your life and be a positive influence. However often, mostly unconsciously, we tend to heavily cling onto the past. Living the ‘had been’ and forgetting to see the potential in what ‘can be’! Not realizing that right here, right now, is the only opportunity to create new memories.
Soon after I got to the US I realized that I had to let go of a lot of my earlier lifestyle. Everything was different here. I had two choices: to hold on to my past, complain, and be completely miserable or let go and start a new life while still holding on to my authentic self.
You may not have had to go through such drastic changes in life. However, we all face the dilemma of letting go and holding on. A lot of times if we are not forced to let go of something, we keep dragging 10, 20, 40 years of mental and physical baggage behind us. At some point that baggage becomes so unbearably heavy that we just decide to stop moving forward and start living in the past. We stop having new goals and dreams. We stop meeting new people. We stop trying new things. We stop learning.
How then do you mingle letting go and holding on? A life of genuine balance and peace starts when you learn to let go without regret and hold on with gratitude. I chose to do just that today. Tomorrow I’m headed out to my first open house community event. Looking forward…