As the train clicks and rocks its way past buildings colored with Japanese characters, and trees dusted with the yellow, orange, and red hues of Fall, I sit quietly, contemplating how life discoveries have this way of sneaking up on one. At least these type of understandings have this way of sneaking up on me. I never learn what I expect to, but I always learn what I need. I needed a world away from my own to truly appreciate what was standing right in front of me.
I’m grateful that this train is on a track, taking me to where I need to be so that I can allow myself the luxury to slip lost into thoughts of here-and-there, and of now-and-what’s–next. I shake my head at the silliness that is me; that I had to travel over 5,000 miles, spending twenty-two hours and more on an airplane, and a few additional minutes on a train to finally admit that I want to stay. The reality is- it has taken more than than 5,000 miles, and a three day trip to Japan for this realization to sink in deeply, catching me in my wanderings. It’s taken somewhere between seven and twenty-eight years. This strange thought that there could be something better than travel has been the culmination of years and years of searching, fighting, discovering, failing, hoping, and dreaming.
I have been so concerned with the ending and what will happen; in my flight attendant life, relationships, and home, that I have been missing the total experience. Maybe it was traveling with two adventurous and capable women, and feeling my heart in a different place than the foreign that had me acknowledge that knowing where the story is going is no longer the most important piece. Living the story is what matters most. And in the goodbyes that I abhor, I notice the value. Goodbyes make one anticipate the ‘hello again’, cherish the together, and the scenarios have the power to show-and-tell what is missing in one’s life. In the space of a goodbye, you clearly understand what you most hope to see again.
I know enough to know what to do for now, and I have found an acceptance in that. The best choice is to step towards this moment and the new moments that follow. This step could include just for now. Or forever. Or for not-ever. Whatever the finale is, I know I will be ok.
And it will be ok.
And everything will be more than ok.
Because life has taught that she has this ability to find us in our mis-steps, and within our mis-adventure, redirecting us back to the path we were meant to discover. And you can’t rush her- that thing called life.
I get it. Finally. I don’t need to write the perfect ending, because perfect is impossible, and I don’t know what chapter we are in anyway. For it’s simply a fact that this could be the ending, or the middle, or only the beginning.