A Fork in the road

Isn't it strange how life can suddenly approach a time for decision-making that makes you feel like your world is about to change forever? I have reached such a moment. Although my life experience has already had huge events causing some evolution of my conscious thought as well as self-discovery, I have at least for the last 19 years, found myself surrounded by familiarity. This weekend everything is about to change.

I have been driving the same car for the last 8 years. I know it's just a material possession but it's come to be part of my identity, and my reality. Over the next three days I will be wishing my old friend a fond farewell as I leave her with a friend to sell when I leave my old city behind. I have been living in the same place (not house but city) for the last 2 decades and now it's finally time to go. It's a strange feeling to see all of the faces of my friends and acquaintances and not know if I'll ever see them again. Of course in reality, everyday of our lives is like this, as we never know when we'll leave this world and our human body behind. Still, just the same, it's weird to know that so much that I perceive as normality will soon fade into the past.

To my favorite local restaurants: goodbye. The dentist and mechanic that I learned to trust after dealing with others who didn't feel competent, the place where I buy my groceries: goodbye. Goodbye to all my friends at work (though I will stay in contact on-line), martial arts class, university. I've always lived in the same city as my mother. Well, it's time to leave the nest. At thirty years of age I actually left home over a decade ago, but now I'm leaving my home town and soon will be leaving my home country for an extended period of time.

Life is a journey. My path has connected me with a partner who lives far away and now after over a year of long-distance relationship we will have some time to live together. I'm going to go and visit my genetic father and grandmother in America soon after I move (my graduation present), then a couple of months after I return to my new home my girlfriend and I are going to live in Japan for a year where I will teach English. I've applied for a job that is looking like a real chance, but if I don't get it, there are a lot more on the Internet. As my girlfriend is Chinese, we will then go on to live in China for around half a year. While with my father we are to go on a vacation to Costa Rica in Central America. Sounds pretty good when I write it all down but it's been hard to organize. I'm also feeling affected by impending losses already.

I guess once I get on the plane to leave the feeling of a fresh new beginning will take over. Last weekend as I sat on top of a local mountain making the final decision to sign the marriage papers so that my girlfriend will be able to come with me to Japan and then eventually back to Australia, I saw an eagle riding high on the currents of the sky. It looked beautiful and powerful as the bird seemingly (I know it must have taken a massive a mount of effort and practice) made effortless circles coasting through the low-lying clouds. What freedom this animal must feel! It didn't look as though it was searching for prey or going anywhere in particular; it was more of a "joy flight'. It made me wonder if my own decision was also the first step towards spreading my own wings towards a life of freedom. My opposing negative side (it's always there) questioned if my decision would be the cause of death for any future chances of freedom.

In life we all reach important moments when it's as though there's a fork in the road ahead of us. We have to make a decision, as stopping will lead to stagnation. It's one way or the other. We try and weigh up the situation and listen to our hearts but sometimes we just don't know what is right for us. I think at these times we just have to make that leap of faith off the edge of the proverbial cliff and have the courage to fail, if that's to be our destiny. If we do succeed that's great, but it's often the failures that we do learn the most from. You mightn't even want to consider them as failures. Maybe they're just learning experiences. We all have to learn certain things while we are here and it's probably true that no matter which road you take, you're personal destiny will lead you to the same challenges, obstacles, and learning situations.

I once saw a movie called "Himalaya' (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0210727/) where an old Nepalese tribal chief had to choose between two paths that led his group of yaks and people to the other side of the mountains when on their annual salt trading expedition. He chose the path that looked hardest. The feeling I got from his choice was that if you do take the harder path in life, and succeed, the victory will be much more poignant and worthwhile for the traveler. If you fail, you know you didn't take the easy way out. If you took the easier path and survived, you might always wonder what might have happened if you'd been brave enough to go the other way. However, some will always argue that being safe is the best way to be. Limiting risks and the chance for failure will insure you against falling through the gaps and becoming a blood-stained corpse on the rocks below. For those who follow this creed hear my gentle words, "Be careful you don't end up being so safe that you sacrifice the love in your heart. The only rea