Sometimes when I am on my way to a new place, I have a little fear and a little sadness thinking about things and people I have left behind. The nostalgic wrench can be quite consuming and can easily overpower that liberating exhilaration that you really should be feeling. Is that not the feeling you are living for?! I genuinely find repetitive solace in that moment, by saying to myself “Who did you find there last time?”.
Terri Whitehead went out on a limb when at 5 years old, sat next to me in ‘Blue class’ she gave me her purple eraser to ‘keep’. I remember thinking it was the most beautiful eraser I had ever seen – so wonderful in texture and smell – I had no idea where one would buy an eraser quiet as special as that. I decided that we would be friends, and that was probably her intention, a sort of lovely and clever luring, where everyone is a winner. It was a few days later that Terri asked for “‘her’ rubber back now”. I really liked that rubber a lot, and I realized that Terri didn’t understand properly the thought of ‘giving’. Disappointed, I felt she wasn’t the friend that I previously thought she was.
I am sure that Terri shortly passed the lovely lure along. Maybe even to James Fraser-Forbes (if she was feeling especially confident and daringly considered ‘gifting’ a boy). You can really learn a lot from being five years old. Not only did I realize that there must be another stationary shop from the one I knew, that sold marvelous, colourful specimens with a whole new realm of beauty – I also learned that if Terri offered me another gift, I probably shouldn’t get too attached to it.
I guess in that instance it was Terri who had the confidence to extend the first gesture of friendship, albeit not with the most genuine of intentions. Granted in adult life friendships, fears and feelings are less black and white than at five. But the simple principles still exist as they did in Blue class. Someone has to be brave, or we might sit alone forever.
And so when at the airport being alone and scared I remind myself of the last time I felt the fear of leaving things behind. Since the last time I felt this…who have I found? I think ‘Wow, I couldn’t live without them, imagine my life without Nathan or Dion or Muller. Who did I laugh at on the Sunday morning balcony, and who took me to swing dancing on a Monday, and who phoned me in tears at 3am – making me feel needed and wanted and loved?’. The truth is my friends from before the last journey…were my friends from before the last journey. They also held a special part of me. It was just a different part.
There are also those embodying the worst side of Terri, giving and taking without a thought for others and some (most confronting) bringing out the worst side of you. But it is important for you to discover the boundaries of your person, morals and soul. That is the only reason for these creatures to surface in your journey – so even embrace them and the elements that they bring to your personal path.
This is a new journey and a progression. They will see me today and not yesterday. They can hear all about me yesterday, but can never be there with me yesterday. Oh, how lovely! It is not a ‘reinvention’ it is just life and we are all living all the time. Well, until we die of course.
If you didn’t ever take a journey, or feel that fear, the chances are you would have hurt a little less, but also lived a little less than your fellow travelers. Wonderfully, the duration or situation of the journey is fairly inconsequential. The sole significance is that you and the people in that place already have one lovely thing in common, that you are there – and you are there out of choice. Whether your journey is to Tesco on a Saturday, or to Fiji on a row boat…you have common ground.
I can find comfort in believing that what is in the future is just as wonderful and unique as what is in the past. I can embrace the fear and adventure of new people and experiences, whatever ‘gifts’ they may bring....or take!