The following has been the final of a three-part guest post by my dear college friend, Amanda Hornick [if you missed them, read PART I and PART II]. Hornick hails from Blue Springs, MO, and is one of the most magnetic and hilarious people I know to-date. And she always has a good story…
I suppose what I am trying to say, in a round-about way, is that I am proud of every connection that I have ever formed with those I encounter, and that in a very special way, they have all influenced me. A tour guide at a college I chose not to attend told me that if I made it to Paris, I simply must venture to the Lourve, and her words echoed in my head as I soaked up springtime sunshine, sipped fermented grapes, and enjoyed divine conversation with four Jim-Morrison-obsessed hippies outside the museum in what now seems like lifetimes ago. She influenced me as I “leaned forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies”. Would I have studied abroad anyway? Maybe, but it didn’t hurt to have a tangible memory of someone telling me I would regret not doing it.
Am I fantastic at keeping in touch with everyone I ever meet? With even everyone I ever love? Of course not. The world is chaotic and imperfect and we all lose touch and friends can become strangers, but is it necessary to cut ourselves off from others because we fear that we can’t maintain timely communication? I wish I could have limitless hours in the day to call up my old camp friends or travel companions from Europe, but the truth is, I settle for an occasional email reminding me of a funny story we shared many sunsets before, or a wedding invitation to a ceremony I probably won’t be able to attend but will hang up on my fridge regardless so I can see it and share in the joy of their love. It doesn’t mean that I don’t catch myself, often, wondering what song Meg is karaoking to tonight down in Key West, or what lucky girl is being told by Brian that her eyes remind him of the Gulf of Mexico in August at precisely 8:30 pm.
My point? Love freely, openly, without reservation. Let others in– don’t cut them off, or wall them out. Don’t miss out on experiences because you worry what others will think, or how they will end. Live spontaneously. I remember the rush of adrenaline and the camaraderie I felt- not the freezing cold temperature of the water- when a dear friend and I leapt into a Puerto Rican rainforest waterfall last February. I remember the passion and the mystery- not the next-day judgment of a conservative flatmate- when I shared a random four-way kiss with three dashingly good looking Spaniards, and I remember many years of laugher and good times with old friends, not the pressure of maintaining contact after our lives led us on different paths. Never miss the opportunity to connect with the world and its seemingly endless inhabitants. For as Kerouac also said, “Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.”
And the road, my friend, contains limitless possibilities- if you allow them to find you. So, don’t fear the goodbye… embrace the hello.