Saying goodbye.


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The first thing we are taught in this world is how to say hello, but nobody ever teaches us how to say goodbye.

I am not talking about waving to your kindergarten teacher as you cross the hallway to the first grade classroom. Or the way you feel when your older brother goes off to college for the first time. I am referring to the soul shuddering farewells that shift the polarity of your known identity. The kind of partings that make you question all the decisions you’ve ever made in life.

Crouching beside my fourteen-year-old dog, her milky eyes teemed with liquid trust. Steeling me with her caramel gaze, she took no notice of the suitcase by the door. I cradled her silver muzzle between sweaty palms, trying to strike a balance between denial and an overwhelming appreciation for all that she is.

This is the kind of goodbye I’ve encountered from the moment I left for Australia, two and a half years ago.

Travel-hungry expats understand this kind of raw reality better than anyone, as by the nature of travel we find ourselves meeting and parting, perhaps forever, from a multitude of exceptional people. But what do you do when these periphery encounters become a significant part of your life?

After several years living and working abroad, I find that there is no such thing as goodbye. You can’t produce an equation or cook up a recipe to soothe an ethereal sense of loss. If you could, I feel that would be doing a great disservice to all you have known and experienced.

While time, space, and the waking world may separate us from the people and things that we have known and loved in the past, they are never truly dislodged from us once embedded.

Goodbye is a graveyard that I spend life speeding by, only glancing at from the heated seats of my volvo station wagon. But every now and then I have to pull the car over, stop the engine, and take a saunter through the old parts of myself.

Greeting others is one of the most beautiful tokens of social expression and the true goodbye is an eternity of hello’s to the past.

 

Planning your future: To know or not to know


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When it comes to decision making, there are two kinds of people.

The kind that keep their options open and embrace the possibility of the unknown and the kind that drown confusion in absolutes, seeking comfort in the security of long term commitments.

Group A and group B

While  group A has career, family and goals planned out by age 14, group B sees life as an endless string of surprises. We all know the type and while neither group is wrong or right, they have a lot to learn from each other.

As a die-hard member of group B, I find myself constantly in awe of  decision-dynamos  who are married, 6 years up the ladder in their chosen profession and have a clear-set path laid ahead. They know exactly what they will be doing in 5 years time and who they will be doing it with.

As for my decision-deficit amigos and I, we thrive on the possibility of change. The dusky obscurity of a world beyond the rabbit hole is intoxicating. It becomes difficult to determine what decisions must be made and what decisions will savagely stunt our scope of imagination.

Seeing beyond your A/B inclinations

Regardless of decisions, the most important thing to note is that both groups are ruled by fear; the fear of excluding opportunities weighed against the fear of losing stability.

Bravery is a challenging concept but when it comes to planning your future,  appreciating your relationship to the unknown is the key to setting your sites.

Are you running toward something or fleeing from something else?

Intellective honesty is the greatest power in the struggle to keep the specters of speculation from holding you back from what you want most.