one year away


One year ago, I left home. I awoke in the back of my car—hungover, haggard, a little queasy. It was late summer. I drove through forested back-country roads, breathed in that West Coast air, grabbed my backpack from my mom's house, said good-bye to my friends, rushed to the airport. Left for awhile. Not knowing how long.

And now it's been a year. And I'm still gone—still going—still so many miles to go.

It has slipped by seamlessly. I don't miss home. Home is such a bizarre concept anyway. Everywhere feels like home—Melbourne definitely seems like home—but then there's this other Home, the one that I'm planning on going back to one day. The place that has such a hold on my heart. It's where my roots are.

But Melbourne is where my heart has nested.

It's been such a big year. But every year feels so big.

Last year, when it came time to leave, I didn't really want to go. But it was time to go—time to go. Sometimes, I think that if I stay in one place too long, I'll never get away from it and the rest of my life will slip away just like that. There is just so much out there that getting stuck in any one here seems like such a waste. Before I went anywhere, it was easier to sit still. I wasn't happy being stagnant—but it was easier to bear. Now each new experience carries this fear of letting it linger too long and become stale and unfulfilling. So I keep going. Onto something new.

I'll lay roots eventually. Maybe. Life is so full in the meantime.

I left home reluctantly but the world opened up when I did. As it does. It has been an affirming, absorbing, smorgasbord of happenings. Time passing, getting older, travelling more—it's one giant story of becoming. I have more certainty about what I want and who I am and thoughts of the future occupy less and less of my mind. I don't really have long term goals or aspirations any longer. I just want to be happy and living. I take each year as it comes because you never know where it's going, no matter how long you toil over the possibilities. Grabby hands can't make time sit still. Needing to control everything has never made my happier.

Do not hold on so tightly. I used to say that I was fighting for my life—fighting to exist as passionately as possible—fighting to be engaged with the world. That concept seems so unnecessarily tiring now. I'm just alive. I don't need to fight. If anything, we need to stop fighting everything. It's okay to just be.

So I am being in the great, big impermanence of it all. Not sitting still but walking calmly. Looking around. See the birds? See the caterpillars?

All things pass. I've started viewing time as a river. It goes on and on and on and keeps flowing. When you fixate your eyes on one specific bend or rock or rapid or leaf floating on a calm cove, you stop seeing the whole river and forget that all you are staring at is one, single moment in an endless stream. Yes, it's perfect and beautiful but it will end and its ending has no effect on its beauty. Just because something breaks doesn't mean it wasn't honest or perfect in what it was.

I am so grateful for this past year. I am so grateful that it came and stayed for a bit. Let me sit in it. Life has loved me so well. But it's down the river now. Onto something new.


Self portraits in Melbourne. September 2017.