Iris and I have been married for over 13 years now. No this isn’t an anniversary post (though that may have to come). In those 13 years we have had three awesomely unique and creative kids. We’ve lived in seven different cities, in two countries, on three different continents. The end of this week, we will move to a new city in a new country.
Thirteen years of marriage….and this will be our 13th move. Transition and change have been an underlying current in our relationship before we even knew it. When we had nothing as newly weds, it was a little easier. With each child and as we have all gotten older, it’s become more difficult, harder and sadder. The excitement of moving to a new house, city or country is still there, but, it’s the realization of saying goodbye to people is hard, that’s become more difficult.
Until recently, and by that I mean up until about two years ago, I would pretty easily emotionally cut people off and move on. No grieving, no mourning, just simply move onto the next “thing” without ever taking time to reflect on what has been. But these last three months especially have been different. As we knew we were leaving a place we’ve lived for five years, in a country we’ve lived for ten, I was challenged several times by coaches and mentors of mine to really fully engage in the present and engage in the goodbyes.
This is a hard thing for me. The present has never been something I’ve ever been comfortable with. To live in my dreams or even to live in the future (composed of my dreams) is where I usually like to live. But engaging in the present has been hard. It’s been hard to intentionally choose to engage with people as we say goodbye, potentially for the last time on this earth. It’s been hard to have those “last meals” and “last cups of coffee” with people that I love, have poured into and who have poured into me.
But, and thankfully there is a “but,” it has been quite possibly the most rewarding time in my life. To leave knowing that I have made an impact into someone else’s life, that they actually valued me and my friendship, and that they are sad to see me go because there is so much more we can give each other has been so worth the pain and hurt.
As a person who is fairly new to the way of life of engaging and living in the present, I have to say that this is the way we were meant to live. I love to plan ahead, strategize and have my goals and vision lined out for the next several decades. There is nothing wrong with that. My problem is that that was my focus, never focusing on what was in front of me-especially when life got hard. You can’t get much harder than saying goodbye or never having the chance to say goodbye. Engaging in the present is how we were meant to live. To be fully here, wherever you are, whoever you’re with, whatever you’re doing. It may not be the easiest thing, but it is worth it. No regrets when you engage fully, only rewards of being human and humanizing those around you. And, becoming a leader who honors people.