Don’t “they” say, “All good things must come to an end?”
Who am I to argue with the most infamous “they,” but I must say that “they” are dead wrong. It is Wednesday June 24, 2015 and my last day in Amsterdam. My last day in Europe (for now). My 15 day trip ends tomorrow with a flight back to LA. So, my trip is over. Done. Finite. The End.
But is it? I don’t think so. It continues in my mind and imagination, influencing my creativity, my relationships with other people, and the way I think about life. I will never be the same Charlie I was before I began this trip.
At this moment I sit at a long “open table” (in the famous Rijks Museum) across from four young adults (18-20) from France. Well, I think France. They speak French. But then, so do many people from Belgium. Maybe they’re runaways seeking a new life or graduated students taking a gap year. But they’re most likely a small group of kids with rich parents. Runaways don’t visit museums, wear stylish clothes, expensive jewelry, and have painted nails as they talk about Socrates.
Socrates? Who talks about Socrates? Shoot, at 20 years old I had already quit university, abandoned a full scholarship, and like a genuine hippie was hitchhiking across our country on a 3 month trip, with $200. I had never read Socrates and certainly never had a conversation about him.
But that’s exactly what I’m talking about. These “kids” will be in my mind and thoughts forever. I wonder how many people I know talk about philosophy and interesting topics – it seems most of us talk about the weather, how busy we are, and the latest Hollywood gossip. The next time I get caught up in my “ordinary,” I want to choose to be different
In 10 minutes with my new friends (we neither introduced ourselves or chatted), I have learned to be different. Just like the dozens and dozens of other life-impacting encounters on this trip to Europe, I will “Begin Again and Again.”
Ghosts of Europe Past
So the trip does not end tomorrow. My flight home initiates the transition from the ever-learning Charlie in Europe to the new and ever-evolving Charlie who, at home, implements new ways of looking at life. I will forever adjust my life based on new experiences and thoughts: my family, especially Pam and Austin, my businesses, my artistic endeavors, my relationships, my opportunities to serve and make a difference will all be better as a result.
Well, my new “friends” just left the museum. The End. Or not. They will forever be my ghosts of a disappearing Europe, one that can begin again tomorrow and the day after that, forever.
What about you? What have you done recently that will have an impact on the rest of your life? Believe it or not, you are forever learning and evolving in varied stages of your transition, from End to Accumulating Thought to Beginning Again. Ideally, these transitions continue to the last of our days.