I’ve spent much of my life trying to “push the river.” But now, here I am about to step out of the stream. The river of life flows ever onward. Friendships change. Stuff happens. Grandkids grow, grow up, and family members will change. I will have had experiences that change me. If relationships are about shared experience, what will happen to my relationships while I’m gone?
Everything will have moved on for the space of one year. How much of a river flows by in one year?
Emergencies—without me. I know I’m not indispensable, no one really is. But I am used to being part of this system, making chicken soup when someone is ill. Driving each other to doctors, or loaning the car, grocery shopping for a friend. Minding the kids when the mom is sick.
Friend Barbara fell the other day, broke her elbow and fractured her arm in three places. We are these fragile little eggs, wobbling around in a harsh world. And I’m leaving my safe orbit. Wait! Maybe I have a God complex going on—like how will they manage without me? Seriously?
We always celebrate our birthdays together. I’m going to miss 13 months of birthday dinners!
Is this about my control issues? Will they do things right, if I’m far away? Yeah, I absolutely trust that all those I love will manage their lives, and their emergencies, and their birthdays, just fine without me. But then, that feels really bad, too. Like, don’t they need me? Doesn’t anybody need me?
I’m a kite that has slipped it’s tether. And with that image I can see the flip side of the issue I’m meditating on, here. Do I need them? Do I need their help? Can I manage without my people? How will I live without having the minutia of my life, my days and nights witnessed by the people in my solar system? What happens to a kite when the string breaks?
This trip has elements that remind me of the time when MR “ran away to the ashram” for three months. She needed to step out of the stream of her life for a while. The stress of her job was making her ill, coupled with a number of other major life issues pressing down on her. She went for a week-long yoga and meditation program, then called up to say she “wasn’t coming home, please empty my fridge and take in the mail.” At that time, I was her partner, the one who was suddenly left behind, and it felt really bad, even though I understood her need to do it. That was a very sad Gay Pride week for me, and that summer was a sad and lonely time for me, as I tried to process our separation and her absence.
OK I admit it. I feel guilty to go on this trip. Survivor's guilt? Why am I alive, and so many of my loved ones are gone? My sister had purchased a van with some kind of a heater coil in radiator, so it wouldn't freeze overnight, when they drove to Alaska. They never got to go on that trip. Who do I think I am, to just up and go, and have a great adventure? Don't know. I imagine a sailor leaving home, leaving the known, to go sail off the edge of the map. Maybe I'll find out while i"m out there.