As I look around me at the cherished circle of friends I have gathered over the years, I see that little cracks are forming. An illness here, major surgery there. It has begun, the process of time eroding our collective health and vitality. We shall all fall eventually, of course, but for now it is still a crapshoot with none of us knowing what the future holds.
It is much too sobering to live this way, waiting to see what will befall us next, so the only option is to live in the moment and truly savour what each day brings. While I have followed this philosophy for years, and am thus pretty open to new experiences, I was completely unprepared for the unexpected surprise that came my way recently; an invitation to spend the coming summer in Dublin with my husband.
I have been wanting to see Ireland ever since my girlfriend took me to see the film "Ryan's Daughter" many moons ago. The movie had a visual impact that four decades have not dimmed in my mind. I am so excited at the prospect of actually being able to see that craggy coastline and those deep green fields for myself in a matter of weeks, that I am starting to pinch myself. My stomach jumps in happy anticipation when I think of all the things that await us.
As excited as I am about my upcoming adventure, I also have a heavy heart about leaving behind my family and friends. Because I know that time and space alter things and that even if everyone is still standing when I return, we will all have changed because of new experiences and things will therefore never again be as they are now. Therein lies the ambivalence; you can't stay too comfortable if you want to experience a full life but in order to have adventures that will add colour and spice to your life, you have to get out of your daily routine and embrace new challenges. Life really is a series of hellos and good-byes and treasuring the memories one creates in between.
While musing over this remarkable opportunity, I happened to come across the following quote by Mark Twain who said: "Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
Dublin, here I come!