Letters to My Future

In the window before me as I lounge on my bed, a palm rustles and sways in the warm Queensland breeze. It waves at me, a benevolent but constant reminder that I am far, far from my home in the snowy Midwest.  The peaceful rustling of leaves is interrupted by the squawking of unknown birds, and at night ring-tailed possums occasionally saunter in through our open french doors, eyeing dinner enviously.  R chases them out breathlessly and looks at me in wide-eyed amazement. We have no screens, so every window is a doorway to the unknown animal kingdom.

I look down at my bedspread, lit coolly white in the teal glow of our walls, packed away when I left Denver in July, and finally just unpacked a couple weeks ago– a reminder of home. I look at the matching Ikea wardrobes we bought for our bedroom– Australia doesn’t do closets.  I look at my tanned legs, a phenomena never before seen in December.  In fact, December as I know it, doesn’t even exist here. My world here is different. 

I realize that this life is lived in episodes and stages, as told by Mireille Guiliano.  Having exited stage left (as you look at a map) on a plane, I now begin a new chapter.

Reflecting back on the previous chapter, I consider the time I had before leaving the U.S.– a haze.  Privileged to have a great deal of time with my family and gifted with the means to travel, I made the most of my time off, yes.  Yet, that time carries in my memory a sense of pregnancy;  a longing, knowing a great change was afoot, and sadness for a future that I will miss with my family and friends, a sadness for impending losses expected, a sense of slow unraveling of life as I knew it and dislocation from the familiar– in so, so, so many ways.

I clung for dear life to those things that I attached mentally to a sense of “home”; my family, my old friends, my old loves, and the nostalgia I hold for such things.  And they clung back with shocking frankness.  And for a few fleeting moments before I left, it felt as though I could never leave.  Something would happen.  I would stay.

But then I left.

And in days, the fact that I was oceans away led to a “come to jesus” moment unlike any I’ve had before.  A realization that with this distance, with this freedom, comes great opportunity and obligation– to be 100% honest with myself and those around me, regardless of the consequences; to embrace the life I live now without thinking of the past or too much of the future.  I looked at R, and saw one of the more beautiful and complete people I’ve had the privilege of knowing, and felt an immense gratitude to be here, with him, with an open road before me.    I feel free to move forward, unburdened.  Joyful.

Sometimes I think I’d like to write letters to myself in future, or to an unborn child, or to the universe telling them of the moments like this in life that mean the most.  Perhaps this is that.

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