Last week, I booked a one way ticket back to New York. Just like any ending, this one comes with a mix of emotions. I will be glad to see my friends in New York again. I will be glad to hop on my bike and ride through Central Park. I will be glad to go camping and to take hikes in the mountains.
I will miss the lazy pace here. I will miss the endless sunshine. I will miss driving by blue expanses of water on a daily basis.
It’s been just over five months since I arrived here. In many ways it feels so much longer. The journey has had many peaks and valleys. Every day was different. I found myself working with a wide variety of clients in various settings. This felt so different from my past life where I went to the hospital every day. I’ve learned I like the chance to change things up a bit. I’ve also learned that no matter the setting, the company you keep has a huge impact. Finding friends here is what made this island special to me. Stingrays are cool, but that pales in comparison to being able to laugh with others.
I remember years ago, I had a really difficult time with endings. I found myself clinging on, trying to squeeze tighter, making time last forever. As I began working with children in the hospital, I found myself viewing endings differently. I have now known dozens of children who have died, and I believe that has made a huge impact on me. My need to hang on, in hopes of making a moment last forever, shifted. While I look at the waters for my last days here, I worry that I didn’t appreciate it enough while I was here. Then I remember that endings are beautiful reminders that make beginnings and middles all that much sweeter. I have learned that what becomes important is being fully present in the moment. I began to understand that endings are an unavoidable part of life. It helps me to remember what is important in the here and now.
So as I gear up to say goodbye to this island, I think about the happy hour laughter; I think about trying new foods at the farmer’s market; I think about meals by the water; I think about sitting on my flooded car as nearby good Samaritans pushed me out of the water. I think about breakfast with chickens, and long walks on Seven Mile Beach. I think about friends relaying stories about “Chicken drama,” and impromptu flamenco dancing in a coffee shop.
I think about this opportunity giving me the chance to shake up my life. I don’t feel fully resolved; as a dear person in my life reminded me, when you break apart your life, you have to work to pick up the pieces. That said, I was due for a good shedding of the skin. I sense that the journey will carry more twists and turns. I hope to be present for each one.