Saturday, May 23, 2015

Not Quite the Quintessential Commencement? - Erich

Beginnings, like most other things, don’t come easy. A great beginning is hard to come by.
  • It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” 
  • Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote…”
  • “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.” 
A bad beginning just falls out of the sky, if beginnings are like raindrops.
  • It was a dark and stormy night.”
  • “I scowl with frustration at myself in the mirror.”
  • “When shall we three meet again, In thunder, lightning, or in rain?”
I recognize that Macbeth, being already considered by many to be a cursed play, is not a wise choice for poking fun. Plus, an army of Shakespearean scholars will now completely refuse to read on. But I’m not sure that was my intended audience anyway.
An adventure, like a story, also often has a clunky beginning. And the adventure I am about to embark on is no exception. I am smack in the middle of the beginning (if beginnings can have middles) and let me tell you, it is not pretty. You see, to start a new chapter, you have to end the previous chapter. But in a book, you can just end the chapter with a cliffhanger. In life, it’s not quite so suspenseful as that. To start a new adventure, you have to end the current one. And that can involve a lot of work.
My wife, my children, and I are about to begin a new adventure. Two years. For two years, we are going to travel around the world, living for a couple of months in one country, and then moving on to another. We want to be tourists, but also more than tourists. We want to get to know the culture, food, people, and art of the place. We are planning on living in four different continents during that time, in eleven different countries. And then home again, home again, jiggedy jig? Perhaps. I don’t know how this adventure will end yet.
But to take on something of this magnitude, you have to clean up the adventure in which you are currently immersed. We have a house to clean, declutter, get on the market, and sell. We have furniture and books and just stuff to sell or give away. We have jobs to finish, we have friends to visit, and we have goodbyes to make. The cliché speaks of tying up loose ends, but at some point there are so many ends, it’s more like weaving a loose tapestry.
I’m confident we will weave this tapestry so that we can continue onto the next one. But in the moment it can feel so overwhelming. Selling a house is never easy. Selling it while also having to get rid of most everything you own just adds to the “never easy”.
But I guess it’s paying your dues that gives you the privilege of the new adventure. And as chaotic as it may seem, it’s certainly not so bad as a dark and stormy night.

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