Last Sunday in America
Essay by: Bill Rayburn
Last Sunday in America
The irony of this being Ryder Cup weekend, where the US plays Europe (in golf, for you rubes), has not been lost on me. The European team is loaded with Englishmen and Irishmen. I'm still rooting for America, of course. But I’m also very aware that, at least physically, I am about to change teams.
I've never been overly patriotic. Sure, events like 9-11 have made me cry and wonder why America is such a target for certain groups of people. But for the most part, I've avoided aggressive patriotism because I've felt it was tinged with xenophobia.
I think this bodes well for me, heading to Europe. It will be almost effortless for me to embrace a different culture where there is potential for growth, for expanding my horizons and immersing myself in something new and different. It strikes me as more exciting than anything else and I'm relishing the opportunity.
A new relationship with a woman is also fertile ground for good things to happen. I am ready to meet my new mate face to face for the first time. What we have been able to establish via the internet and the phone has been significant, but pales next to being together in the same room, the same house, the same wonderful city, and yes the same bed.
Like all of us, I have no idea how many years I have left. I don't plan on focusing on that aspect very much in the coming months. I'm going to give my mortality a break for a while and focus on the here and now. I want to be 'in the moment' as much as possible, to absorb as much as possible. To ingratiate myself with the staid British folks and their predilection for understated humor and irony.
This period of my life is, quite simply, an incredible opportunity. I've been anticipating concerns and worries and problems to bubble to the surface, but very few if any have done so.
It has been a series of celebratory meals and farewell beers and bottles of wine the past two weeks here in northwest Arkansas. Brian has been very generous and has endorsed and supported this move I am making. He has lived up to the very best definition of "friendship". I will be leaving this country with the right frame of mind, the healthiest perspective possible, and with a confidence that has me ready for anything.
Mild concerns involve access to American sports on TV or in the newspaper. I will need to find a source for sports news. The Giants are in the playoffs, both bay area football teams seem poised to be good if not great, and the NBA season begins shortly. The internet is a reliable source where ESPN.com will probably be a regular hangout of mine.
It's an election year, and I'm already going to miss the first of the three presidential debates on Wednesday. The BBC is a reliable news source, and is rumored to be far more "fair and balanced" than FOX News should ever claim to be. I fear falling out of touch with current events all around the world, but that is probably naive. In the internet age, it is relatively easy to stay "global" and informed. It has always been a priority of mine, and remains one which I intend to maintain.
I have zero concerns that my writing muse will be anything but stimulated by moving across the pond. The history of London, with its centuries-old architecture and unique, historical neighborhoods, should be an obvious inspiration. I know the differences between American and British culture and people have been well-documented, but I still intend to put my spin on it based on my personal experiences in and around London's charming pubs and ancient streets.
I've thought often recently whether or not I will ever be on American soil again. My family is all in California, though spread out through most of the state. We are not what I would call splintered, but we all have lives we are leading independent of one another, and we simply don't spend as much time together as we once did. Their lives will go on without me with hardly a ripple, is my guess.
But growing older has imbued me with many things, and one of those tenets is "never say never". The shifting sands of my life over the years have proven a few things to me, and one lesson is that there is no constant like change. As I move forward, I get less fearful of change, accepting it as inevitable. And in the case here in 2012, which is quickly climbing up my list of most significant years, I am embracing change, controlling it, being pro-active about it.
Taking charge of the direction of your life is empowering and affirming. I confess to having drifted in some of my more directionless years, oozing from one sensation to the next, failing to grab life by the balls. I am grateful to have survived and learned from those periods in my life. Not proud of them, necessarily, but I give myself some credit for making it through them and learning from them.
Life is messy. There is a lot to be said for survival instincts.
© Copyright 2017 Bill Rayburn. All rights reserved.