Monday, February 7, 2011

40 years ago...

No, I'm not turning 40. I may be old, but I'm not that old (not yet anyway). Forty years ago today my parents got married. They were married for 19 years when my father passed away, and I have no doubt that if he hadn't died, they'd still be married and celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary this week. Their anniversary was a big deal in our family because, as some of you may know, we didn't celebrate Christmas growing up. (We also didn't celebrate Hanukkah, which is always the next question when you tell someone you don't celebrate Christmas.) Instead, my parents arranged what we called, in retrospect somewhat unimaginatively, "Present Day" which coincided with their anniversary. We took the Christ out of Christmas and moved it to early February. We also took out the lights, decorations, stockings and trees. In reality it was nothing like Christmas except that we exchanged presents. This tradition fell by the wayside as my sisters and I got older, and I honestly couldn't tell you when the last official "Present Day" was.

I mention my parent's anniversary today, not so much because of the memories of "Present Day", but because my dad has now been gone longer than my parents were married. I got to thinking about this recently because I have a strong tendency to dwell on the past, and while I never ever want to forgot the people from my past, sometimes the past has a way of covering over the present. Life moves forward, and it sounds like a cliche, but you can't live life looking backwards.

Take for example our around the world trip. Before we know it, we will have been back in the States longer than we were away. It's not that the memories of the trip are fading, but the relevancy is fading, or at least that's how it feels. It might seem obvious, but the trip we took will never change, which means we'll always be answering questions such as, "Did you go to Cambodia?" with "No." Or  "Did you go to South America?" and we'll have to say "No." We'll answer "What parts of Africa did you go to?" and it will always be "Just Egypt". And we'll always be explaining that we only visited southern India, and didn't see the Taj Mahal.

This isn't to say we won't travel again, and indeed I intend to continue traveling and visiting new places. I recently found myself on-line playing around with around-the-world tickets, which even though we didn't end up using one for our trip, I still find intriguing. Not to alarm anyone in our family lest they think we're planning another big trip, but I read a lot of travel blogs and I happened to click on an ad for a "South American around-the-world" ticket that stopped in Columbia, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Ecuador and Costa Rica. All those stops (and there were multiple stops in some of the countries) cost less than $1,500 per person. That's an amazing deal, and part of me wants to head to Miami (where the ticket originated) and leave on that trip tomorrow. And not just because Boston has three feet of snow on the ground, although that certainly is big motivation.

Then again, as I've mentioned repeatedly, I am enjoying myself in Boston. Yesterday we had a lovely Superbowl party at Jaimee's dad's house and on Saturday, Jaimee and I had a long visit with my sister and nephew. I cherish those moments, and am truly happy that we are close to family. But, the travel bug is hard to kick and I sometimes wish we didn't fall into jobs and a routine in Boston so easily.

When we came back from our trip, I had a grand vision of finding some way to finance more travel, finding a way to break free from the "9 to 5", three weeks of vacation a year syndrome. Alas, Jaimee and I found jobs, good jobs that we both like, and an apartment that we love. So what's the problem? Nothing really, except that I still have unfulfilled dreams. I guess the take-away from this somewhat long rambling post is that I plan on spending more time in the present (and future), and less time reminiscing about the past. In reading other around-the-world bloggers, I noticed a similar struggle that sets in a few months after returning. Often it seems the blogs morph into something else. The most explicit example of this is AwayTogether, a blog about a family of four who traveled around the world, which turned into A Runner's Trip, a blog about long-distance running. Another example is our friends Jason and Gillian from Victoria who have continued their blog, but with a focus on motivation behind travel, living in the moment, and challenges to move out of your comfort zone. I know that Gillian sometimes reads this blog, so I don't mean to misrepresent her blog if my description isn't her intent, and I really encourage people to check it out for themselves, as it's quite motivating.

Maybe this blog will change into a place to motivate others to fulfill their dreams and live in the present. I suppose we can do that by setting an example ourselves. So, maybe you'll see more posts about dreams, goals and living a more fulfilling life.

1 comment:

  1. Asa, I like that you are going to try to look more to the present and the future. I tend to be overly pragmatic and unsentimental but I understand that the past has plenty to offer...but not at the cost of the future!
    I am super please with how you characterized OneGiantStep and my writing since returning. You summed it up perfectly and that tells me I'm doing a good job in targeting my writing. Thank you for the kind words.
    I've enjoyed reading about your return, and your quest to hike all the mountains in your winter no less! I look forward to hearing more about your dreams and goal as you move forward too.


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