Hometown Blues

Why so serious?

It’s always an occasion on the very far end of the spectrum when I visit my hometown. Either a grand occasion to be celebrated or, more often than not, a sad, heartbreaking or even life-changing event that has summoned my presence. It is always such a philosophical feeling on the actual journey home too. Sitting on the plane, I often wonder if it is just me that feels this way? Is it my own experiences that cause this soul-searching atmosphere in my mind as I travel home? Or is this something that a lot of people feel when they are about to touch down as a visitor in a place they once understood and under-appreciated as intensely as the fine lines on the back of their own hands?

I always want to come home and just spend some time. You know, casually see some old friends, drive past my old house, visit an old cafe, read a book, maybe even reflect on who I use to be and how far I’ve come. Before a leisurely visit like this is able to happen though I’m at the mercy of the next tragedy or celebration that calls. Next thing I know there I am, at the airport, emotionally catapulted to either the high or low end of the spectrum again.

Which end of the spectrum for me this time?

This time it’s an exceptional tragedy that has me headed home. The reason I’m back is a real trip down memory lane… This particular view of memory lane though has a truly sad tint. An old friend of mine passed away. The circumstances were horrific. You can read about it here: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/97673605/serious-twocar-crash-on-southland-highway?cid=facebook.post.97673605

There is nothing like a young mother and father, both old friends, being killed in a head-on car crash on their way home from a funeral with their two young children surviving them in the back seat to really drive home your own mortality. What I’ve felt is absolutely nothing in comparison to their families and the empty place in their children’s hearts as they grow up without their mother and father. It really rattled me though. And then here I am, at the airport, headed back home again for a memorial. I realise at some point on the flight that my current self isn’t equipt, after all these years, to deal with something that is really hurting the me from a previous time in my life moreso. Somewhere as the plane descends, my 16-year-old self joins me emotionally, to help me prepare for what lay ahead when I land.

My friend Sam had two beautiful children, a partner that loved her dearly and had just made a move overseas that she wished she had made a long time ago. And thank god she didn’t wait any longer to do any of those things. Sam’s sister on the day made a beautiful point, Sam passed knowing the love of a husband and a mother’s love for her children. That’s something.

What’s the lesson?

I couldn’t help walking out of the service thinking ‘wow that was beautiful, but what now?’ Thier families will mourn forever, but for the rest of us, was that it? Forever in our memories and our hearts but what more could we do?

Every day that we hold off doing something is a risk. A risk that we never will. That we never will get around to taking that trip. To falling in love. To changing our career. To catching up with that an old friend. To taking that chance we’ve always dreamt about.

Why are we waiting for everything to be ‘just so‘ before we take action? Are we waiting out of fear? Saving for more material things? Instead of taking a risk toward something that will make us infinitely happy.

I know we need to sacrifice, save for a ‘rainy day’ and set ourselves up for the future… I also believe there needs to be a fair balance between future-proofing ourselves and living a life that inspires us, every day, and enjoying every moment while we are still in it.

“I wish somebody would have told me that
Some day, these will be the good old days
All the love you won’t forget
And all these reckless nights you won’t regret
Someday soon, your whole life’s gonna change
You’ll miss the magic of these good old days…”

A lesson learned should be a lesson shared where possible. Drive safe. Live, Laugh and Love xx

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