They Were Always There
In the mind-numbing, uncertain, challenging, fun, just "slightly on the edge" pursuit of career dreams, you knew they were always there. You left home to chase the dream, knowing friends and family would always be there. Visits home grew less frequent but you always knew that each time you returned, Mom, Dad, sister, grandparents, cousins and friends would be there.
Months became years became decades. You knew they'd be there, or so you thought. Then, one by one, they weren't there. A grandparent dies, then an aunt, an uncle, a college friend who you lost contact with ten years earlier.
Still, you knew the rest of them would still be there.
When I say you I really mean I.
Now the remaining ones are my generation and some of them are dying. They are NOT there. Now I'm dealing with a toxic mix of grief and regret. Regret that I didn't go home and spend time with them as I chased my dreams. Every city I've lived in is less that three hours from where they are. My credit card limit always had enough left for round trip tickets.
Email and Facebook have enabled contact but that only represents a ten year slice of the forty years I've been gone. I mostly missed the other thirty. Ok, I said it before: they could have kept in touch too and didn't. But hey, I'm the one who left.
The point? Or points? Don't wait. Don't stop staying in touch. Don't assume there's a tomorrow. Don't think you can make this life journey alone.
Don't assume they will always be there. They won't.