Monday, May 28, 2012

Goodbye. C'est tout!

I’ve always thought of life as a series of books- and within that series, a number of chapters. I began this blog at the beginning of a book… I began that book over four years ago, in another country, living another life. I had hopes and dreams…expectations and doubts. I did what I could with what I had and seeked to attain what it was I didn’t yet possess. All the while, documenting my journey wherever I could: in the margins of novels, on restaurant napkins, in my various journals and in a more orderly fashion- right here, on this blog.
I couldn’t have said, four years ago, where I would be today. I couldn’t have even imagined it.
And yet, if I didn’t have this blog…I probably would not remember now, where I was then…and all the many chapters that made up this incredibly marvelous book. Looking back, through the countless emotions, reflections and contemplations since I began “I Bet Elephants Taste Like Mushrooms,” I came to a number of conclusions. It’s enlightening to witness my own progression….my metamorphosis. I began writing this blog as one version of myself- and now I am another. The blog has given me the opportunity to observe my own evolution- and to, oftentimes a bit too candidly, let others into my world. To examine how I have grown, and how in some ways, how I have I have regressed.
I am reminded of the many individuals who have passed through my life – some leaving their mark, some leaving only a whisper of remembrance. I am reminded of the people I have loved and of those I have lost. The places I have been…the cities that will only ever be visited again through photographs- and those that remain in my heart. Reading through my blog…I have relived the memories that have formed me…the recollections of experiences that remain with me- leaving me full of conviction and fortitude.
Most significantly, I have reached the conclusion that these chapters are coming to a close; that this book is ending. And I say this with a bit of sadness, as oftentimes when one finishes the last page of a great book and has to say goodbye to the characters that have accompanied them on a noble voyage. But again, just like a book- it is possible to one day, go back and open the first page and begin again…recalling the emotions that lie dormant in the back of their minds as the tiny fragments of a memory that was once a reality.
Throughout this blog- I have loved and lost and loved again, I have felt fear and sadness, pride and contentment, I have learned an infinite amount about an infinite number of things, I travelled a sum of continents, discovered parts of the world- along with parts of myself, I never knew existed. I got an MBA. I began a new career- taking all that I knew and all that I know and all that I want to be- and found something that brings me so much joy, I only hope to continue to do it. I met the man I am going to marry. Which brings me to my next point:
In less than three weeks I am getting married. I wake everyday and feel like I am living a fantasy- with a man that has helped me find my path. In three weeks time, I will say “I do” to someone who has made so many of my dreams come true- to someone who may not completely understand me, but who fully accepts me. To someone who protects me but allows space for my dreams to grow…someone who waters the small seeds I plant everyday. A dreamer like me- but an individual who teaches me an immeasurable number of lessons about reality.
So here I am, displaying what I can bear to expose of my soul, as I have been for the past four years. From England to Spain to the US and finally Italy. Here I am again, but this time to say goodbye. Because this book is over. Because its time to close this final chapter with an appropriate farewell and begin a new one. Because as Semisonic once sang, “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”
This book has lived its beginning, its middle and now, its end. It has had its chapters….its small amusements in its plots, its crises and one common theme- the words that come directly from my heart…written through laughter and tears. Many characters have passed through the pages of this blog, people who have touched me in one way or another. And it has had its climax- or climaxes, I would like to think. There have been powerful moments of doubt and shame. Periods of sadness that I thought would never end. Moments of euphoria that I tried as hard as I could to hold on to.
And therefore, now, four years later…I write to you, yet again, from the bottom of my heart, the tips of my fingers and the inner depths of my spirit, with a few more wrinkles, a lot more wisdom, and an irrepressible excitement about the future.
I want to say goodbye to those of you who have accompanied me on my journey- who have shared your thoughts and ideas with me- who have silently read my blog, either praising my endeavors or criticizing my naiveté. I thank all of you- for sharing such a wonderful part of my life with me- such a wonderful book, with countless distinctive chapters. I want to take this opportunity to say goodbye to those of you I have lost…because through the passage of time and widening of distance, through unfortunate circumstances and simply growing out of each other, I was unable to hold on to some of you. And there is no one to blame but myself…because I made all the choices that lead to the consequences I live everyday. I left you – along with certain parts of myself behind. And then there are those of you who have continued with me on my path…who have remained constant companions on this journey. And I thank you. And ask you to stay with me- because it is you who bring life and color to every chapter.
As for the future, I have high hopes- because that is all we can do. Is hope. And do our very best to never lose our innocence, our curiosity and our enthusiasm. It is all we can do to stay true to ourselves, and to continue to be open to the lessons that each day brings.
I still have yet to decide what the equation is: how much of life is luck, how much is preparation and how much is destiny- if destiny exists. But maybe I can take this occasion to impart a bit of wisdom as well…a few lessons that I, myself, have learned on this journey:
I have learned that undoubtedly- positivity breeds positivity. There will be countless people who try to bring you down; it is up to you to not let them. Let the good ones in. Forget what your enemies have done to you, but always remember their names. Trust no one- because those we trust the most have the capacity to hurt us the deepest…at the same time, remain open to love and friendship- because they are the elements that make up the joys in life. Don’t be afraid to try- what’s the worst that can happen? You fail. But you pick yourself up and try again- integrating the lessons that you learned along the way. Living well is the best revenge. I truly believe that anything is possible- if we believe in ourselves and have the courage to risk. With great risk, comes great reward. Don’t let others define you- don’t define yourself by where you come from, how you dress, who you know- and never stop learning. Never regret… learn instead. Be selfless…sometimes. Be selfish others. Be open to hurt- because if we close ourselves off for fear of pain- we are closed off to pleasure as well. I learned that “the one” doesn’t exist. There are many individuals we can love in this life…and the love of one does not exclude the other. Trust your instincts….they rarely lead you wrong. Family is wonderful- but they can hurt you too. Money isn’t everything- it can’t buy happiness- but it does make daily life a bit easier. There are no such things as adults, just big children. No one is ever mature- we just pretend to be. Be honest, be open, be candid- many people will criticize you but there is no other way to be. Live your pain…because only through acceptance, can you reach delight. Sleep is fundamental. Listen to music. Take time for yourself…and your passions. Live for each day. It is oftentimes the simple things in life that are the most extraordinary. Don’t burn bridges- but if a bridge catches fire, walk away. Keep your head held high, even if you want to bury it under the covers forever. Take time to mourn the losses you will encounter- but let the people who love you help you recover. Dogs truly are man’s best friends- (especially Labradors). Change is the only constant thing in life. Create value. Time heals all wounds. Don’t always think before you speak- sometimes what comes out of your mouth will be the truest thing you've ever said. Everyone deserves a second chance- but not a third. You don’t ever have to do anything, you always have a choice. Take tons of pictures- you’ll be glad you did. First impressions are generally wrong- but never make a bad one. Let go of expectations…they are rarely met. Instead, enjoy the surprises. Never take anything for granted- you don’t know when it will be taken away. Giving is far better than receiving- in all cases. Sunshine and pizza cure most ailments. Laughter cures all of them. Life is exceedingly brief- so live each moment to the fullest- or at least wake up each morning with the intention to do so. Never diet- but live healthily. Give in to momentary pleasures- we aren’t saints….stop pretending to be. Apologize if you are sorry. Not when you aren’t. If you love someone, tell them. Constantly. Learn the rules, even the unspoken ones- then play better.
Never stop dreaming.
All my love,