I'm really lucky to have a family that has fostered such a sense of curiosity and confidence in me. To have such unwavering support for my questionable choices like joining the Peace Corps or 1.5 year later suddenly deciding I want to quit my job and leave for another developing country, is incredible. It goes against very basic human biology to support your child (and genes) leaving to sweat and struggle in far off places. I definitely recognize this. What human parents probably want most at the very base of their DNA and survival instincts is to see their children settle down with a healthy mate in the hut across the dirt path from theirs and to produce grandchildren that they can see and take care of. And yes, that's simplifying it, but I'm sure there's also an element of undeniable truth to this. If I had a baby goat, I would be distinctly uncomfortable with its irrational choice to move to Peru to teach English to foreign goats. I suppose that the very fact that I'm uncomfortable using an actual human baby to illustrate this point shows the stage of life that I am still in.
What I'm trying to say is that even though I can most assuredly not understand this completely since I don't have a baby goat who grew up into a bizarre individual, I still get it. To be perfectly clear, I'd really like to have a baby goat in my life (not human), and I hope that I'd be more understanding of its desire to step outside of its comfort zone and experience other cultures, but I can't say for sure that I would. There's potentially a wide gulf between a baby goat and a human child and I think it's fair to say that it takes enormous courage for a parent of a human child to be so allowing and tolerant and supportive of the child's choices when they don't include settling down in the hut across the road from them.
There's all those silly quotes to make you feel better about a break up like "If you love someone, let them go" etc etc but there's one that I actually really enjoy and has been useful is several different situations.
"If you love a flower, don't pick it up.
Because if you pick it up it dies and it ceases to be what you love.
So if you love a flower, let it be.
Love is not about possession.
Love is about appreciation."
This one is applicable not only to romantic relationships but also for all relationships. I've realized recently that I need more balance in the way I view the world and relationships. I tend to be like Tomas in "The Unbearable Lightness of Being", not in that I'm a Don Juan, but that I'd rather see life as light and skip over the heaviness. I think I need to adjust that worldview of mine to accommodate the very human parts of life that are heavier because in truth you do affect other people just as they do affect you. So, I'm willing to give more of myself and accept the heavy parts and thus experience all of life. However, the 'light' side of me still loves this poem as it shows the value in letting someone be the way they are. Because that's why they are beautiful in the first place.
I think you can have both. I think you can feel light but still be cognizant of the heaviness. The heaviness not being a negative thing in life, but merely an acceptance and understanding of the importance of giving and friendship and family and bonds and commitment and shared lives. I have no idea what I'm getting at but I think it has something to do with understanding the burden I give others by making 'adventurous' decisions such as moving to a far away country. There's worry and sadness and missing and hurt and I know this and I know that I'll share it too. It's easy for me to leave because there's a lightness in leaving but there's so much more than just the leaving.
So, thank you to everyone in my life who has allowed me to be the way I am. To my parents, my grandparents, my siblings, my aunties and uncles, and my friends, and most especially the ones who raised me and fed me stories and good food and encouragement, thank you for allowing me to make all sorts of weird decisions in my adult life. I like you for who you are too, and I wouldn't want you to change either.
Love and Rootbeer,