Yesterday was the last of 60 days with my incredible 80-year-old mom in Palm Springs, CA. We both scratch our wrinklier heads wondering how this was the 25th year of our annual trip. Time effortlessly disintegrates between desert superblooms, cribbage marathons, movies, big hikes, and gastronomical delights. I turned 52 in January on this trip and it feels like moments ago I was celebrating at Kobe Steakhouse watching the teppanyaki chef fillet and flame shrimp. Seems like moments ago I was looking forward to the just completed trip. The acceleration of time makes decades disappear like days used to.
During the initial days of my first long walk through Spain, doubt made several appearances in my mind. First, could I actually walk all 500 miles? Second, would it be an enjoyable experience? At the start in St. Jean the end was not even a random thought. On the fifth day I had an epiphany and realized my arrival in Santiago would be a dramatic termination of a long journey. I pictured a Forrest Gump moment when the feet stopped stepping. No more days of enjoying nature. No more days of meeting new and interesting people from all corners of the world. How would I cope with the change?
Seneca said, “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”
Here is a short excerpt from my book about how to deal with change: Day 13 began early on a cool morning. One of my first thoughts was about all the friends I had met along the trail and how many times I was forced to say goodbye. These endings were very difficult but became a frequent reality on the Camino. On my path of life, I am hoping to learn from and practice this lesson. All relationships on the Way, as all relationships in our mortal lives, come to a natural or an unnatural end. Although I may feel regret or loss, my new attitude is to view the time together as a cherished moment in my life instead of tormenting myself with the reality of the inevitable ending.
While I obviously miss my father, his death was the birth of my sobriety. After walking 500 miles across Spain, arriving at the cathedral in Santiago was a stepping stone to writing my first book. The book opened doors to speaking engagements that led to many new friendships. These friendships took me to all four corners of the globe over the last year.
Our journey through life is a never ending sea of change-some gargantuan and many minor. When we initiate change, like moving to a new house, the experience is usually perceived as exciting. When change is forced upon us, like a crummy boss spewing useless tasks, our resistance flares and tension rises. The acceptance of change is the difference between a pity party and growth. One of my main goals in life is to align myself with what is likely to occur instead of wasting time and energy to control the situation. It is much easier to cope and adapt when our outlook on change is positive.
Alexander Graham Bell said, “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”