Life is a series of leavings. Upon the very act of being born into this world, starting our life off with a leaving. Exiting the safety of our mother’s womb and entering into the world. Eventually, growing and leaving the safety and easy innocence of childhood for subsequent life stages. Saying goodbye to our parents and hello to college, closer ties with friends, independence, growth and new experiences. Throughout school, we leave each grade for the next one. Moving up a level, assuming our academics proved satisfactory.
Then, leaving the romance of academia for the "real world," as they call it. Leaving the safety bubble of dorm rooms, cafeteria food and a life on campus for finding an apartment, a new life really, and most likely in a whole different city. Saying goodbye to some of the friends we made during our time at college. Possibly even closing the door with a significant love, if our new lives take us in different directions. We are leaving.
Throughout life, we will leave jobs, relationships, friendships, cities, and homes. We will stay within one job until enticing challenges or further opportunities present themselves and then, leave. Relationships. A small number of them will last over the duration of a lifetime. Most will not. We need different people at different times during our lives. As desires, life goals, needs and even personalities change, this tends towards going hand in hand with relationship needs shifting as well.
This goes for both romantic and platonic connections. Friendships coming into our lives for varying reasons at particular times as well. A handful of which will remain steadfast over the span of many years. Quite a few though will not. Again, because of shifting emotional needs, changing values, differing interests, proximity, diverging life desires and so on. Rarely is it for lack of love. (Though of course, sometimes it can be just that too). But of course, a relationship or friendship concluding does not necessarily mean that while it lasted, it wasn't wonderful, deep and very worthwhile.
Many of us, though not all of us, will live in a handful of different cities throughout our lives. Changing locations with relationship or job opportunities, or for a sense of new beginning and adventure. Like dandelion seeds blowing in the wind, if we allow ourselves to be swept up with courage and inspiration, life can take us to so many astounding and character changing places. Both physically and emotionally, and in such surprising directions. As long as we are brave and open. Attuned to what the universe is offering us.
In the beginning, we leave our childhood for adulthood. But this doesn’t stop upon ones seeming “arrival” into being a grown up. The leavings continue throughout the course of one’s life. Throughout our lives, we will evolve from certain ways of thinking into new ones. Adapting new values and letting go of prior ones. Shedding some personality traits and growing into different ones. We leave people, and things. Values and ideas.
Think back to who you were 5 years ago, 10 years ago, even 15 years ago. I imagine there are ways of thinking you have now adapted that you previously wouldn't have considered. Certain foods you now love that were once despised. Ways you act currently that several years ago you never would have, and people you are close to now with whom you wouldn't have imagined. The list goes on.
This is what it means to be human. Continual growth, changes, and evolving. Upon ceasing growing and changing, one ceases living. The world around us is one big series of leavings as well. That's what life is. Comings, and goings. Summers leaving us each year, in scooting aside to make room for fall. The leaves dropping off the trees, leaving for the blustering chill of winter to set in. Beloved pets and animals in our lives will pass away, leaving us, a hole in our hearts within their wake. Even the agility and youth of our bodies, leaves. The sun comes up each day, leaving us for the magic of nightfall. We leave our homes each morning to head out and greet the day. Then, come nightfall, leaving the consciousness of day to fall into sleep. And of course, at the conclusion of this awesome, one-time deal called life, each of us will leave at the end.
Life, both daily and over the course of years, is a series of leavings. Leavings filling our hearts with the worthiness of what we are saying goodbye to. Reminding us of how fleeting life is. That no matter how present you are, reveling and relishing in every moment, it still moves so quickly. That as much as you might try to reach out and grasp the corner of presents shirt in its passing you by, your hand will come away empty. Life is leaving us in every moment. Every minute of every day, leaving us as we speak.
This is why I both love and loath goodbyes. Dreading them for the loss and pain inevitably entwined with any significant leaving. And yet, loving how goodbyes often result in a rush of bravery and intense emotion, in beautiful words and heartfelt expressions. When someone we care for leaves, this brings us face to face with what we truly feel for that person. In leaving, many of us finding the courage to finally tell those special to us, the meaning their presence has in our life. How much we love them. In leaving, it’s there we tend to discover what we truly mean to those in our lives. And, in turn, what they mean to us.
And on the other side of the coin, in leaving and letting go, we discover the dead weights of our life. The things that were stunting or holding us back. The relationships that have withered and since expired. Seeing things with clarity, and often times only then, upon distancing ourselves from them.
Life, every minute of every day, is a series of leavings. This is both heartbreaking and dazzling. It’s what makes life so rich. Loss teaches us appreciation, reveling in the moment, how lucky we really are and how much we actually have. Loss teaches us bravery, flexibility, resilience and wonder. Loss can give us growth and new beginnings. And that without darkness, there wouldn't be light. That without time passing and leavings, we would never know how achingly amazing all of it really is. How fleeting and bright, like a meteor streaking across the sky. Fast, brilliant, powerful and awe inspiring.