The ever changing journey which is my life in Copenhagen
14.06.2013 - 01.07.2013 24 °C
It’s funny about life…where it takes you…how it turns out. I walk down Michigan Avenue in the darkness, with just the streetlights, and buildings lit up. I love watching people walking around the city. Talking, laughing, holding hands. Every place tells a story. I then tend to reflect on mine.
This time home has been amazing….for some reasons I didn’t expect, and of course, others that I had. Returning home always brings up so many emotions, good and bad. And saying goodbyes are never easy. It doesn’t matter how old you get, or how much you travel. Goodbyes are always hard. Especially if you don’t know when you are going to see these people again.
As we get older, life begins to show you how uncertain it can be. In a blink of an eye, a couple years pass. Friends get together, get married, have babies, or even get a divorce. People come into our lives almost as quickly as they leave again. As soon as you hear about a baby being born, someone you once knew abruptly leaves. Life is constantly changing, and that is the only thing you can count on.
Coming home to see my family is difficult because you start to realize that we are all getting older. It’s a blessing and a curse. You view your parents as humans instead of super heroes. They aren’t invincible anymore, and they have flaws just like the rest of us. I tend to ask myself, when did the student become the teacher? You sit down and talk with friends and realize how much you may have missed in the year or so you haven’t seen each other. Families and friend groups grow and change and at some point, you aren’t even sure where you fit in anymore.
But that is when life surprises you. There is that one thing that always brings us all back together…the thing that ties us whether we like it or not….history. Be it with where we grew up, the school we went to, the people we knew, family friends, or jobs. And that is the magic of relationships. The good ones survive, no matter what. You discover that you really can pick up where you left off.
In a world where we all have 2 second attention spans, social media bombardment, and advertisement overload, I find it overwhelmingly refreshing to sit down with someone I haven’t seen or maybe spoken to in a year or two, and we have the ease and spontaneity of starting a conversation without missing a beat. Picking up the ball and throwing jokes and puns at other as if we have been doing this our whole lives. Because in a way we have…not every day of course, but because at the end of the day we have something that time and distance can’t break. A shared history and relationship that surpasses everything, no matter where we are in our lives and in the world.
I like to believe I am fortunate enough with these people in my life because, yes I am partial, but I believe that since all of our friendships were formed before the social media saturated Internet, there was real substance there. We wrote notes, talked on the phone, and went to the movies. Or maybe it’s because you decide to surround yourself with good people.
I remember once a friend of mine told me something that made me so angry. We were speaking on the phone, something we only had the luxury of doing once every few years. He told me something that sticks with me even to this day. As I got upset about the fact that we barely spoke, and how I wished we spoke more, he said, “Michelle, there’s no need to get angry. This is just how it is. We talk every once and awhile, get a good catch up, and then we don’t talk for a while. But it makes us value the time we do have together.” At the time I didn’t want to believe it, or hear it. But now that has become my reality. Of course to my own doing. Having moved so much and now having friends scattered literally all over the world, (and working at a hostel meeting more international people doesn’t help) it made me realize that this is what really matters. Some of my friends I will only see every once and a while, but when we are together it is magic, and saying good bye is sad. However, the thing that brings a smile to my face is knowing that the next time we see each other, we can recreate that magic again, with little to no effort. You appreciate the times you see each other more, and realize the true meaning of friendship.
This last time I went home, I had moments where I started to doubt my life choices. Why didn’t I stay home? Maybe I should move back? I could hang out with my friends and have the same life they are. But walking now down Michigan Ave I came to a stark, maybe harsh realization to some people, but to me, I realized it’s my truth. I love my friends and always will. I love my family even more, and always will. I even love Michigan and the Midwest because it has made me who I am, along with my values, likes and dislikes. But I can’t move back. You can’t go backwards. I don’t belong here now. There are things in Denmark I miss. I miss my job. I miss my apartment. I miss my friends. I miss my life. A life I have been creating the last 14 months, and one I fit into so well. In an imaginary world, I could move back to Michigan and be in the same places I’ve been before, but truth be told, after six months, I would go stir crazy, and probably pick up and move again. And that is something I am definitely coming to terms with and accepting a little more every day.
I don’t know what the future holds. Nobody does. But I know one thing. I feel like I may have done something right when I can come back to my hometown, have a get together with old friends, and shoot the shit as if we were 18 and just graduated. The world is ok when you can sit in a church in a Chicago and watch one of your friends get married. It’s gonna be ok when you can go to a Tigers game with your family, and as you are cheering on the home run, it comes like second nature. I really hope we are all fortunate enough to have these little moments in life where we laugh until we cry, hug someone a little longer than we should, and look at a friend, say, “I love you. See you soon!” And truly mean it. Even if “soon” is 24 months from now. I want to be a good person, and find happiness on this crazy journey we call life. And I couldn’t do it if I hadn’t been so lucky to find some of the craziest people on this planet that I have chosen to surround myself with. Thank you for playing if you are one of those people. And trust me…you know if you are.