Parting is such sweet sorrow…
I’m no Shakespeare scholar but I’d say the bard got it bloody right when he wrote those words. For two weeks before I left on my one way European adventure, everything became about the leaving – leaving my family, my friends, my job. My whole life. And even though I had been wishing the time away for months, counting down the days until I got on the plane, in those last few weeks, it all suddenly became very real.
Suddenly I wasn’t thinking about going on my wonderful, life changing adventure. All I was thinking about was the fact that I would be leaving my life. And because of this, I started to see it in a new light. I had awesome friends, a good job that I had recently started to enjoy and a rowing club that kept me fit and happy. Above all else I had my family, who I never seemed to get sick of living with. I was so lucky.
My friend wisely described it as the Pre-Departure Glow. “Shortly before you go, everything becomes amazing and you ask yourself, ‘why would I want to leave? My life is glowing and full of happy unicorns!’” she said.
It certainly was a happy few weeks, filled with final catch ups, leaving celebrations and lots of ‘lasts’ – last rowing competition, last day at work, last family dinner, last time I would see Melbourne – for an indefinite period of time. Because time was running out, everything took on an increased significance and became more enjoyable than ever before.
I had to remind myself that this wasn’t real life. I was caught in a whirlwind of celebration, a festival of finality. There was a reason I had bought a one way ticket to Europe and that was because I wasn’t content in my life. I craved adventure and freedom and new experiences.
That is not to say that I didn’t value the things I was leaving behind, simply that I needed something more. Logically I knew this, but it was hard to feel it as I said my goodbyes and packed up my belongings.
It wasn’t until I reached the airport, and completed the leaving phase with a tearful goodbye to my family, that I was able to move into the going phase. I walked through customs, sniffing and dabbing my red eyes, and breathed a sigh of relief. I had left. Now I could get on with going.
As the plane picked up speed and rattled down the runway, I felt the pull of gravity in my chest and then the weightlessness as we lifted into the air. And in that moment I was so excited for what was to come, and so grateful for where I had come from.