I’ve been dreaming of Ethiopia. I haven’t traveled since February, and my next short trip isn’t until May. Maybe it’s a travel bug? (Also, whoa is me- 3 months between trips to see friends). What I loved about Ethiopia was being among a new culture, yet able to hide in my familiarity among 2 other Americans when feeling a little too out of place. I remember the joy and happiness I witnessed in Ethiopia, as well as the poverty and limited opportunities.
I read an article today about how long marriage actually is. The article was the perspective of a woman that wanted a life in a different place- she had dreams of daily hikes while living in Holland, of spending a few months in Arizona on her own because she could. But her husband told her no, because she was married and she needed to be with him. I don’t think of commitment as cutting my wings, but it seems like a mirage of unconditional love that seems better described in books and movies than in everyday life. It’d be cool to have a partner that would escape the normalcy of regular life with me.
Traveling is great, it’s the perfect way to avoid reality. My reality in Denver is feeling maxed and burnt out with my job. Feeling like I’m never good enough for my salsa team. Being away from my family in Chicago and numerous thoughts that I want be there, but once I arrive not feeling like I fit in the same way I remember. I’m unhappy with the shape of my body, yet days of yoga and running for 2 seconds haven’t seemed to make a difference.
Soooo, my current escape is to take a mental health day off work. Thanks, boss!
“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.”
Ron’s birthday was last Saturday, he would’ve been 28. Instead he’s forever an imprint on our lives. My high school friends click with me in a great way. Who else would road trip to Canada in a ’91 Dodge Spirit?
We saw Ron the night before he died. He invited us to his house and hosted like he normally would, giving us chocolate and blaming it on his mom. He seemed happy, content, reflective on his past. He wasn’t in a hurry or desired to do anything but be together.
Ron sent a text the day he passed away. He reached out as a friend, saying he would be there for me when I needed him. He told me he understood depression, how he found healing and understanding.
Ron and I weren’t bffs, unfortunately I can’t say I remember a time when I acted as a great friend to him. But he would text me every other day, everyday. He’d say something funny, an inside joke, a song lyric. Something that brightened up my life or his. He was a regular, constant part of my life. I have a handful of friends that reach out. Ron always asked when I’d be in Chicago next. When I was coming back. When could we get together.
One of the strangest, greatest, and more difficult things about losing Ron is how he shows back up. I’m constantly reminded of things I want to text him about. Things we would laugh about or share. Things I don’t have anyone else to talk to about. Facebook has the “on this day,” feature, showing pictures, posts and comments from the past. Ron shows up all the time. He was constantly making jokes, posting funny videos or pictures. He was such a part of my life.
The last thing he did for me was to show compassion, concern, connection. I try to find acceptance with this loss. Part of that might be to embody Ron’s ability to be more than just an old friend, but a good friend.