When you lead an unorthodox, rootless and global life, things are often changing quite fundamentally. Today I’m looking out onto the ocean from my familiar garden chair and drinking my morning coffee from my cheerfully pink mug. Yet in a few days I won’t be here anymore. One adventure, one period of my life is ending, and it’s hard for me to process it.
Not because I am sad about leaving, but because the change is so big I simply cannot understand it yet. How one day I am in my tropical ocean front existence, and the next I roam the streets of northern Europe. I cannot feel sad about leaving, simply because I don’t understand the grandness of it all.
Flowing through life
Sure, I have done this before. Packed my bags and left on a journey, left familiar places and faces behind. And while leaving is always my preferred way of being, it always arrives with a hint of confusion. I don’t want to stay, I have been looking forward to a new chapter in my life for quite some time already. But I can’t shake off the feeling that I should still feel more.
Shouldn’t I want to visit all my favorite spots one more time? Shouldn’t I wish to eat my favorite foods and invite my favorite people over – one last time?
But I don’t. Instead I want to sit still, go on as I always did, and then quietly slip into the night when the time comes. Or rather, quietly take my early morning flight, see the farmer on the rice fields once more, wave goodbye to the volcanoes and deal with it all in my own way.
By moving forward. By flowing like the river that runs within me, by trying not to attach myself to anything. By being forever fluid, soft and strong.
The things we leave behind
I try to avoid drama because I have done the dramatic exit before. So many times in fact, that my heart cannot take it anymore. I have cried at airports, hugged for hours and thought thoughts of ‘never again.’ Yes, life will never be like this again, but is that really such a bad thing? Life gets better and better each day anyway, and nothing is forever. No goodbye is for good.
When I left The Netherlands to move back to Finland, I felt numb and scared of the things I was leaving behind. Turns out I got a job that brought me back to The Netherlands so often it felt like I had never even left. What would have been the point of all the drama with friends when we saw each other again the following month?
The circular energy of life
In fact, we rarely leave things behind. I don’t see my life as a linear line up (or down), but a series of circles that keep on expanding. After each circle, after each episode of life I return to the center. I return to myself, I retreat and gather myself before the next, larger adventure. This retreating energy after a period of creative expansion feels painful, and it often even feels like failure.
But no matter how I feel, I know it’s a needed stop in life, a moment of not-doing, a moment of nurturing and self reflection. Still, every time I feel my energy going down, I sense fear about never coming back up again. This fear is the only thing that would make me hold on to things in my current adventure. Fear of never having it like it is today.
That’s the thing about adventures, journeys and life. It’s not all about happy beginnings or messy middles. It’s also about endings, returnings and closure. It’s about the pain of not knowing, the pain of never returning to a place that once was, the life that once was and the dreams that existed in order for us to get there. There is also pain in change, and today it weighs heavily on my soul.
But it will only get better. It always does. There is only one spring time in a year, why should I be any different?
I can let my leafs fall, let the winds brush against my bare branches, all the while knowing that new adventures are on their way, arriving when there is space.