From an early age we’re told to follow your passion. Good sound advice. It leads to struggling writers trying to find their voice in the untamed urban jungle of New York; to beatnik musicians fine tuning their craft for some loose change in a battered guitar case; to determined scientists abandoning the certainty of the known universe in favor of the unknown; to the embattled activist withstanding the immense force of a world’s disinterest to share their message of change and hope.
All of these passions contribute to our society. They add to the overall beauty and creativity that surrounds us. I root for these passions, these small voices struggling toward a greater sense of self and understanding.
But what of those small vessels struggling to stear their course rudderless, passionless? The current pulls them every which way until they can no longer tell top from bottom. The immense possibilities threatens to capsize them, to overwhelm their sense of direction? What advice do we have for these rudderless individuals still searching for that driving force, that passion?
“What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? – It’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.” — Jack Kerouac, On the Road
As a monumental goodbye looms ever-larger in my horizon, I can’t help but reflect on other goodbyes I have said and how they’ve effected me. Goodbyes are the pages I mark. The memories I remember most. They serve as demarcation lines when mapping out my life. Goodbyes are not all sad, not always forever. They can be the ending of one journey and the beginning of another, the point where the beginning and the end meet. They can be exciting and challenging and confusing and marvelous all at once. They are a time to reflect on the past while anticipating the future. There are little goodbyes and big ones. There are the goodbyes where you can’t look back for fear of being unable to move forward. Or the goodbyes that seem so small you didn’t even realize you said them. It is the moment we choose to “lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.”
Looking out the window, as the world slowly turns past, I’m struck by how magical these moments are. Moments when you’re completely content in your life and who you are. Taking a brief respite from the constant struggle to be more. To be someone other, to become better, to create a future self that can accomplish the goals you’ve yearned for as a child.
Even the slight chill seeping in from the window with new customers entering with a rush of cool air, craving the same peace and respite that I have found in this tiny Scottish café, can’t dampen my peace. It’s okay that the world continues to turn; that life goes on beyond the windows. All I need is this brief moment.
I’ll step outside these doors soon enough and continue on my journey but for now I soak up the minutes, the very seconds. I have nowhere to be, no one to be, beyond these words typed on the screen. They say the world waits for no one but why must we constantly spin with it? Why not step out of the constant hustle and bustle to contemplate the past, the present, the in-between?
I wrote this a couple months ago. I was reflecting on the relationship I share with my three closest friends. We all met freshman year (four short years ago). As our senior year comes to a close, I wanted them to know how I valued our memories together. How important they were to me. While our time together may not last forever, our memories are infinite. That is what I wanted these words to show them.
These moments surround us.
These memories bind us.
The feeling of growth, of creating a future, a destiny we can live for.
The moment we realized this was something special.
The slow realization that four souls, different in nature, could become one.
Just as one thing ends, another begins.
So here I am. A monumental part of my life is coming to a close. It does not just signify an ending, the closing of a book, but a new beginning. Of what? I’m not entirely sure yet but I’m open to what it holds. And that’s what this little blog is for. To chart my new beginnings.
As an English major I have always loved words. Just as much as I’ve hated them at times. They are challenging and difficult. They tend to catch you unawares and lead to unexpected places. These are my words as I struggle to find my own voice. As I struggle to change into the person, the writer, I want to be.
This is the beginning of the end. It is the end of the beginning. There is no beginning without an end. And I will find the beauty in the interim.
I hope you can find comfort in my simple words just as I have found solace in you, my new unknown, faceless friends.
The open road beckons, full of possibilities and change.
Let’s begin the journey together.
The Scenic Route