There’s not much sitting on a bench in the Public Gardens can’t do for you

I now have just two weeks left until I get on the plane. I’ve been finding myself thinking quite a bit about how I want to spend the little time I have left here, and with who. Today I walked to the public garden and sat on a bench to people watch and reflect for a while. The public garden is one of my favorite places in Boston for a few reasons, but one is that it never fails to center me, to force me to recognize all the beauty that surrounds me, the seemingly endless streams of life that continue no matter what’s going on with me. I can’t help but think of all the people who have sat here before me and those who will after me. It’s a beautiful, humbling thing to be in places that make you realize how small and insignificant you are.

Soon I will be alone on another bench on the other side of the world. I’m sure I will be in many places like this in my lifetime, looking out over one little horizon of the world, and though it will all be new, it will somehow be the same, too. I don’t know when or if I will ever come back to Boston, but this place will always be in my heart and I will definitely miss it. It’s just one of the things I will learn to leave behind.

Maybe that sounds a bit dramatic; after all, I am only going for a year. I’m trying not to lose myself in the grand finality of things, in the inevitable drama of goodbyes. Still, I can’t deny that something feels very different about this year, very out of control, all or nothing, and unknown — in the best, though sometimes scary, way. Perhaps it’s because I know I will never be the same, that nothing will ever really be the same from now on. But I suppose that’s life. Lately I’ve been hoping that one day the people and things I leave behind will feel less like losing a part of me and more like a necessary change. Like a needed haircut, a cut that’s painless, and healthy, and new. That one day I will stop grabbing for what used to be there and move forward confidently, unabashed, and satisfied with what I have that remains. Like it was always this way, anyhow.

Part of me wants to know just how much and who I can live without. I think it’s very human to be scared of our own need. Maybe it’s because we know loss too well. But I don’t think it’s brave to close yourself off to the world to prove to yourself that you don’t need anyone or anything. I think what really takes bravery is to give yourself and your heart fully, in every direction, without expectations of what you will get in return, or who will stay, or whatever. And to accept what is thereafter, whatever it may be. This is the kind of person I want to be.

Anyway, I think I was just in the background of some weird wedding photos in the gardens. Pretty sure I’m the stranger in the photo albums of like 27 wedding parties at this point, as a frequenter of this place. And on that note, I should probably get up and go.


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