Tomorrow, I fly.
Leaving for good this time.
Rolling and stuffing as much as I can into one carry-on pack, leaving curling iron and all but lipstick and mascara behind and a few clothes for adventuring, I am leaving the Hobbit House for good. Who knows how I will return in a few weeks? (A better version, I hope.)
I cannot wait. The last time I was this excited to go someplace, was too long ago, though this summer’s trip to Colorado comes close.
When the kids and I meet up, it is usually here, at home in the Hobbit House or whatever iteration of “our home” we are in. They come here. And being all together in one place is my favorite – especially with the friends-who-are-family and family-who-are-friends joining the conversation around the table.
This flight is the first in almost two decades when I leave with so much anticipation, a flight that will take me across the ocean to some of the places I lived while making my way through to high school graduation and beyond. The place that feels the most like home, Ulm, Germany, is the place I lived only one impactful year among open-hearted people. They – without knowing it – fostered a change in me that has saved my life and marks what I do each day to pay rent and put gas in the sweet Vibe. We will go there. In Ulm, um Ulm und um Ulm herum.
And there will be conversations around bistro tables and the unpacked furniture of the Bulli campervan. Those are the most motivating reasons for me to go. Good company and conversation with people I love. I only wish K and Kels could join the adventure – if not this one – a future adventure where I finally get to introduce K to my growing up places and renew conversations around tables with family-that-are-friends. Such important stuff.
I have good reasons to leave and so many thoughts about it. In the quiet of the morning’s linen washing and coffee making and preparing to fly, I want to add to the record some important pieces of truth that need saying – in case this trip is my leaving for good (pffft.) rather than leaving for good (adventures).
- People matter more than anything else. I’m a composting, recycling, reduce, reuse, refurbish…restore kind of environmental steward and I very much believe people are job one. If we crap out our environment, polarize our communities and nation, and commoditize all that we are, than people suffer – including us. Especially the most vulnerable among us. Our children, elderly, poor, ill-educated, marginalized and without hope. As someone who wrestles with hope because of my experiences as a very-young vulnerable kiddo, I know how important putting people first is. Let’s put people first.
- We have one shot at a full life of meaning and it can start now. We can also pick up where we left off living at any moment, too. Live though. Don’t hide. Play your long game; however short life can be, it can also be looooong. Live it well. Ask for help. Extend your hand to another.
- Human-intensified climate change is real. Look at the data over time – especially since the industrial age – and let the impacts of our pursuit of power and precious minerals and lofty commercial ambitions reveal themselves to you. The hard part isn’t realizing what is what, it’s coming to grips with our role in it and how – once knowing – we can no longer step aside in reversing or mitigating the change despite the discomfort this may cause us. We must play our long game; it makes for a better legacy than CEO of widgets and sparkly things.
- Dealing with our own brokenness – broken-heartedness – is the bravest thing we can do and one of the best ways to express love to the people we love and the world around us. It helps redistribute our energies and power so that we spend less time protecting ourselves and more time living, seeing and caring for others – and opens the door to our own being loved. It was when I felt the most worthless, that I was most resolute to become president and powerful – to prove I was more than what I’d learned to believe of myself. If I ever become president now, it would be a surprise and a remarkably different platform. I’d invite differing opinions and advisors to help solve the issues of the day, give credit where it is due, forgive and ask for forgiveness and work to elevate us rather than elevate me. I think this is because of all the work I’ve done so far in laying down the dead bodies that had been soldered to my small tow-headed self; that caused me to want to give into their rot or find a way to untangle myself from them. Untangled. Now, I keep learning to live without their familiar sepsis and stench. Unfettered.
- People are magnificent and flawed. Each day in my work and play, I encounter brilliant and beautiful souls. People who create, order, support and build in their own way to make their corners of the world better. People are flawed. They are also magnificent. Look for it. You’ll find it.
- To love and lose is the worst. I cannot imagine losing a child. I know what it is like to lose a childhood and how that makes losing a relationship feel like death. Right now, I feel great loss, but not death. And I have no regrets in risking it all for such good company; I would do it again. The outcome is out of my hands and though my wee heart hurts with missing and the sorrow that created the schism, I celebrate the progress it has revealed. Growth. Hard-won perspective. I am still not knowing how to imagine what comes next, however.
- To my children. You are the best adventure and co-adventurers. We continue to grow up together. You are leaders, learners, doers and caring people. Holy buckets. You continue to teach me so much. Thank you.
- My pals and sister – and the sister I may never see again who lives on the east coast – and the aunties and cousins – I love you. At 51, we still have time to find our next shared adventures. You matter to me. What’s next?
- I am always looking for home. With the love of such people in my life, I recognize that “home” largely lives within. But I am looking for where I can share a life and give my best to a people or community. Is that “On the road with Allie” in a Steinbeckian meet-and-greet roadtrip? Working in the Summit County libraries to invite kids to wonder and story-inspired adventure? Reseeding my graduate education and putting it out there for what-is-not-yet-known? I don’t want to do this alone, but I am. There is so much work to be done in our world and it doesn’t matter if I share my pumpkin bread with that one fella or with strangers, I do not have permission to step aside. I – we – must do today’s work as we keep an eye out for what is needed of us ahead.
- From so much fearful anger has come a genuine love for folks. I’ve learned genuine love is more powerful than anger, bitterness and hate. Even though my address and auto are simple, I know the power of my imperfect love can overcome hate and abuses of every kind. Such it is on a national scale. Good people just need to step into their own powerful kindness and love, go to work each day, mow the lawn, shovel the walk, bake the cookies, write the note and see one another – bear witness to the great good that is available if we recognize the value of our own lives and stories and the folks’ across the aisle, around the block and over the great seas.
- This is a holy truth and is worth repeating, “Love is more powerful than hate.” “Becoming love” bears more value and power than becoming CEO, MVP or POTUS. You have the power. Use it. Let people love you, too.
This post is so self serving, I know. Thank you for getting this far. You are loved. I will listen. I will fail you and will try again. You – we (the big WE) are worth it.
I hope to see you in a few weeks. If I can, I’ll post photos on instagram (my IG feed is on this blog. Look to your right.) and Facebook. I’m told that since we will be on the road and in the campervan, we will have unreliable (at best) access to the internet. Oh bliss.
To you – I love you. Thank you for walking this life requiring derringdo with me. In January, I will unroll the next iteration of the blog. Think wonder and an old much-loved biffed farm table. Join me if you’d like.
Until then, I’m still exploring what it looks like to have derringdo in a short-sighted world.