Along with the season of lasts comes the season of goodbyes. This past weekend alone around 50 people disembarked (left) the ship and will not be replaced until around the time the ship sails into Congo. Every time I turn around someone else is leaving. Usually, this season of goodbyes is tempered by the fact that I will see many of the people again. A good percentage of people will return either from vacation or from the fact that there's something in the water. (inside joke... we've decided that there's something addictive in the water to make us WANT/yearn to come back and pay to work and be so far from family) This year, though, I'm saying more goodbyes. Because it's my turn to leave this time, and so as friends go on vacation I need to say my goodbyes already.
I was fine, mostly. I did my 16 or so final interviews with the nurses from my ward, and was a little saddened to see them go but I coped. I went away for the day on Saturday and missed the departures of many people, then on Sunday I made sure to be on the dock to wave off the friends that left that day. And amidst the sad farewells and the hugs and the promises to stay in touch, I sighed deeply, turned and walked back onto the ship. I refused to be too deeply affected.
Today we packed. We shuffled large racks and frames and beds and cabinets around the ward, padding and tying and ratcheting tight. We pulled apart and repacked and shrink wrapped and zip tied and tied down tighter. We army crawled above the large carts to get things in just the right places... and it was amazing to have the biggest 3D puzzle I've ever worked on come together so smoothly. At the end of a long day, I came back to my room, and I was done.
I called out to my roommate that I don't want to leave. I'm happy here. I'm not ready for change. She told me "you can do it." Essentially, she's right. I can do it. And to be honest, I don't doubt that. I can do it... I've done it many times before. I've done the goodbyes to best friends all through childhood, as year after year best friends moved away. I've restarted in new places, with new jobs and new friends. I've learned that it's better to have friends than to decide that I can't do it anymore. But it doesn't get any easier. The rough path full of unknowns is still hard to navigate. And I'm about to jump into that again.
Perhaps I'm tired. I keep saying that I'm taking this one day at a time. But in a way, that is simply denial. Trying to avoid what will come. I don't like change. (don't quote to me all the changes I've instigated in the last 6 years... I still don't like the starting over bit) And I'm heading for it like a runaway train. And the fact that I don't have a concrete plan yet... scares the crap out of me.
On the flip side though... if I plan too much, I don't give God space to move. I'm trying to find that balance of planning but not overplanning. Soon it will be time to send out resumes and hope for interviews. Soon it will be time to find a house, a car, to start a new "normal" life. Soon. To be honest, I'm not sure I know how to live a "normal" life anymore. But for now, denial or not, it's time to live in the moment again.
Time to curl up on a friend's bed and laugh over our assessments of a favorite game. Time to continue packing up the wards and get this place ready to sail. Time to pack up my room so IT will be ready to sail. Time to put up my wooden boards that stop me from rolling out of bed when the seas are rough. Time to walk into town and enjoy some local food one more time. Time to buy fruit from the lady that we've been going to for the last 6 months. Time to make the most of this time before it slips through my fingers. Because it's not QUITE time to leave yet.