It was inevitable. The date was set. Travel plans made. Gifts purchased. Why then did I still not believe? Could four years have really elapsed? For me time has moved slowly marked by Christmas breaks and summer vacations. For my daughter it has rushed from one final to another, one love to another, one dorm to another to another to off campus housing. For her four years has encompassed a move across country, making new friends, learning to manage life on her own and to live with strangers. She’s lived and studied abroad. She’s found her voice and experimented with it.
Compared to all she’s done, life back at home appears dull, petrified even. I know differently. I know all that has changed. I’m as altered over these past four years as she. We’re both embarking on new lives, testing new waters.
I didn’t have the luxury of living on campus at some remote college. I didn’t go abroad to study. I didn’t share a dorm room or a house with a head strong, eclectic group of pseudo intellectuals. Perhaps that’s why it took me so much longer to discover my voice and heed it.
I believe that’s the true lesson learned when you break away from the safety net of home, family and friends. To listen to yourself. To attune yourself to that inner voice. To do what is right for you, not what is easy or convenient or expected. It’s taken me twenty years. I’ve finally removed the fingers from my ears. I no longer block the voice which speaks truth and demands me to do what is so hard. I’m forcing myself to move forward when staying in place is the easy thing to do.
My daughter likewise is moving forward. She too is struggling with the desire to have everything just stay as it was. Even when as it was, wasn’t perfect. She knows, as do I, that staying in place isn’t really an option. Sure there are people who manage to live comfortable lives by not stepping forward. We were never meant to be one of those people.
Together, yet separately, we put one foot in front of the other and begin that long journey. Hers will lead her to her future. Mine will lead me to my future. I hope that at times they will intersect. If they don’t, that’s just the price we pay for living and it’s so worth it given the alternative.