A philosophical / introspective journey for you this morning.
A little over a week ago, an old friend passed away. During the 40 years that we have known each other our paths have intersected and diverged many times but as with many of my friends those webs and touch points of our lives merely stretched and never broke.
As details of his memorial were pulled together, and other old friends began to make contact it became very clear to me that a roadtrip was in order. Those that know me well also know that memorial services are very very difficult for me. While they are meant to provide closure, and a celebration of someone’s life and accomplishments I tend to get very introspective and look at all of the opportunities that I had to do more, to be a better friend to that individual and I get most depressed about not having made that extra effort.
This trip was a bit different though. I knew that I was going to wind up going through that same level of introspection, and I had been doing that in the days leading up to the event. A surprise email, and chat with another old friend from the same era triggered a whirlwind of action. Last minute travel arrangements, a shuffling of personal plans and commitments, repack the “go bag” to accommodate the needs of the service and a few hours later I found myself at 37,000 feet headed to Portland.
Over the years I have traveled so much that this effort seemed trivial. There were a number of hurdles that popped up but they all seem so normal that they are not worth discussing.
The journey wound up being one that was as much mental and emotional as it was physical. The return to Portland was surreal in many ways. To be back in the Northwest, to be in the town where I grew up. To navigate streets, that while they may have changed have really not, as if I had never left. To visit my old haunts, and sit in a chapel on a campus that was such a large part of my life where I had not been in decades. It all seemed as natural as if I had never been absent.
To meet and greet and spend time with friends that I had not seen in “meat space” in a long long time was an experience that has made a surprising impact on me. The fact that we just jump in as if we had never been away from each other is something that amazes me, and that I treasure.
As I was wandering through PDX on my 8 hour flight delay I found myself smiling. Even though my family was 1800 miles away, even though I was leaving town again, I was finding a part of me that I had buried.
My friends: Rob, Dave, Liz, Barry, Daphne, Sarah, Carrie, Kevin, Dan, Todd, Sam, Mike, Henry, Craig, Kurt, and all of you… Thank you. I learned a bit about myself this weekend as I found the “old me” (or at least a part that had drifted off) for the first time in many many years. And I really like this guy, I think I am going to try and keep him around.