I am eight days and a wake up away from an anniversary. I say it this way because the number of days and the wake up was once used to determine the amount of time before returning to the so-called real world.
I was somewhere about the age of 17 when I was told to write my first goodbye letter.
But that’s not what the anniversary is about.
The letter was a directive that had been given to me by a counselor. I was told to write a goodbye letter to anything and everything in my life that I wanted to leave behind. Then again, this was during the time when the counselor wanted me to focus on the habits which I had been trying to perfect. This was back when I was hiding behind an image of long hair that grew over my eyes.
I was slow-minded and affected by the choices to keep myself dosed with a chemical that had swept around our globe since the beginning of euphoria.
I know what they wanted me to say goodbye to. But was I ready?
At the time, my answer was no.
I wasn’t ready nor did I see a good reason to let go of the only things that I knew would make me feel comfortable.
By “feel” I mean this is the sense that I could feel nothing and be numb. I could be protected, as if to be in a cocoon, and feel the warmth of an opiate wrapped around me and swaddled in the bosom of something so mind-erasing and evaporative that, literally, I could forget time and space. I could forget about me or you. I could forget about the daily grind or the beatings we took. I could forget about the unforgettable things. There was no pain. There was no need to worry.
I could literally forget to breathe and none of this would matter because I would be perfectly absent and free from the tangles of thought or feelings. There’d be no more assumptions (or need for them).
There’d be no more challenges. There’d be no more conflicts or battles to be concerned with. There’d be nothing else but the empty sea of complete abandon which was fine for me. Vast and impure, I understand. But more, I’d be disconnected from the hardwired brain and the thoughts that led me astray –
Eight days and a wake up . . .
It’s taken me 32 years to say this.
It’s taken me 50 years to get to where I am now.
I have grown since this time. I have changed several times. I have both created and recreated my life yet there are times when I revisit the idea of writing a letter to say goodbye. I do this for my sanity and mental health; but more, I do this to allow me a moment to redefine my purpose by giving myself a mission statement, which is the following –
At some point, you start to think. You start to recollect ideas and remember words like “ah, freedom.”
Now there’s a word.
You think about the ideas of redemption or salvation which is not to call this a religious trip by any means.
Not at all.
This is only another trip around the sun or more locally, this is just another day in what I perceive as life.
This is not your life or any other life. In fairness, I am not alone here – or least of all, I am not alone for the sake of saying “alone.”
At least not according to the standards of typical loneliness.
But more, I am finally in good company.
I am not alone in the sense that I am by myself or alone as if to suggest that there’s only me and no one else.
This is not the case.
Yet, I am alone in the sense that I understand what it means to stand on my own two feet.
I am alone when I say that it is me who has to come to a decision and that no one can do this for me.
I am this; the root of my life and more precisely, I am always the square root to my own equation.
However, I am alone in the sense that for the first time, I recognize and realize that there is a path which has been set before me. I can do one of two things with this. I can follow along aimlessly or I can take a chance.
I can make a move. I can switch directions and give it a shot.
At any given moment, I can stand up and walk away from anything and everything that’s held me back, kept me down or got in the way of my best possible self.
At some point, you start to look around and notice the things which stand out in your mind. This will allow you the chance to recognize your place in life. You see this.
You see the world you live in.
You see your surroundings and you note your circumstances which you may or may not have outgrown.
At some point, you check your levels of awareness and in a parallel to where you are and where you want to be, you start to recognize whether you are on course and on target – or, you’re drifting away from your desires and off-course from your destiny.
At some point, you start to look around and recognize the unwanted features of your everyday life.
As you notice the outcomes are not matching the intentions and your efforts, you start to wonder about yourself.
You question the world around you.
But more, you start to wonder the famous question, which is this: When is it my turn?
Whether it is by fever or by some other symptom, we know that something is wrong.
We know that our mind is fighting off a social or emotional infection. In revolt of the society around us, we find ourselves in contempt of the people in our life who may or may not belong. As we sift through the information, we start to recognize our position in life.
We start to measure where we are in relation to where we want to be.
We have questions. We want answers.
We have fears. We have concerns.
We have trained assumptions and biases that mislead us.
We have experiences that leave us gun shy or cause us to flinch with anticipation that something is going to come our way.
At some point, we have to allow ourselves to undress the sections of our mind that have become habitual.
Rather than project or expect, we can allow ourselves to adapt and create something new.
I am not sure how many times I’ve done this. In an effort to let go of my past, I found myself on the verge of needing or wanting something new. To move beyond myself, I wrote goodbye letters to all things that would be better left alone or in my past. This is another one. No different from before but different in the sense that today is something totally and completely different.
In a sense, this is a different letter altogether. This is me saying goodbye to old shadows that imposed on the lights of my life. This is a goodbye letter to the thefts of service which were done on my watch. Even worse, the thief was me.
This is a goodbye to the thefts which I allowed my thinking to take away – but not as a victim. More so, I was a volunteer. At the time of indecision, it is often fair to say that we are unaware of our true worth.
This is a goodbye to the times I’ve wasted. This is a goodbye to the hopes that I allowed to fade or dissipate into nothingness. This is goodbye to the times where I lacked the belief that no matter how I try, fight or no matter how hard I work at something, life is never going to change.
This is wrong and I acknowledge this here.
Right here with you as my witness.
This is a goodbye to my doubt and my doubtful beliefs that something about me is either irregular or inefficient.
This is a goodbye to the older versions of my misunderstandings. Rather than allowing myself to be hinged upon old battles, arguments or wish that I could either unsay or resay something, this is a goodbye to the re-lived and to the old rehearsed conversations that took place in my head.
This is a goodbye to the unfair attempts to relitigate the past.
Equally, this is a goodbye to the hardships and the grievances and the need to find accountability for my emotions or feelings that either hurt me or kept me confused. This is a goodbye because, at last, the past is the past; but first, I have to allow the past to be behind me. Hence the word, “goodbye!”
This is a goodbye to my concerns of social discomfort. This is a goodbye to my challenges with social and educational snobbery. This is a goodbye to my need to “set the record straight” and a farewell to the need to prove or explain myself.
But more, this entry is to serve as a final notice of eviction to the ideas and thoughts that no longer serve me.
This letter is to declare my place in the sun which I’ve worked for, cultivated and certainly earned.
At some point, you wake up and see that your life is falling behind schedule. You start to recognize the patterns of your daily life and, at the same time, you’re finally awake in the sense that you’ve recognized where you’re at is not where you want to be.
This could be with anything. This could be in life. This could be at work. This could be with love. This could be within your friends or family. Suddenly, after years of falling in line and following the protocol of a somewhat forced or trained position, you finally wake up to realize that you want more.
You want it all. You want the fantasy.
You want the picture you see to match the picture of your dreams and unless you do something – nothing will change.
Unless you do something different, nothing else will be different unless, somehow, your life becomes altered by an outside or “unbalanced” force.
But I’d rather have this be on me. I’d rather apply myself now and have the optionality of choice instead of live for the “wait and see” moments.
I’d rather say goodbye to my old self and become my new self than wait around for circumstances to change my place in line.
So, please, let me step forward and formally express this: Goodbye!
I know this is not simple nor is this something that comes without error or changes. I know that habits are formed and that, in most cases, habits know what to do without input from the mind.
Therefore, effective immediately, this is a goodbye to all of the reactions and the preemptive moves to defend myself. This is to firmly define that from this point onward, I am detaching myself from the mental catastrophes.
This is a goodbye to the reasons why I never tried before. This is a final farewell to the chains of my regretful and rejective thinking.
But more than a goodbye letter, this is also a letter of introduction.
This entry is written to serve as an introduction to my future, which is yet to come. This is an introduction letter of sorts because I have finally decided to reconnect with the ideas of who I am and who I want to be.
This is a letter of understanding because on top of my doubts and fears, which are included in this letter of termination, this letter is to equally serve as a means of support.
This is the adult mind stepping in. Rather than feeding the toddlers of my emotional thinking, this is where I will allow goals, plans and strategies to achieve my new best life.
I have altered my path by doing this.
Just by saying this, I have created a change.
I have decided to make this change in light of a new dream.
I am sore. My body that is.
I am going through changes.
I have dropped 40 lbs. of physical weight; however I could lose all the physical weight that I need to and this would mean nothing without losing the emotional heaviness that feeds my depressive thinking.
So long . . .
Hello to the replacement of thought with action.
There’s enough “talkers” in this world.
So to this I say: Let’s not be one of them.
There comes a time when you want something to start right away.
But life has steps and so do we.
I am writing this to say goodbye and hello; but more, I am writing this as a means to explain that I have watched the world go by for way too long. I have missed out on parades. I’ve missed out on celebrations. I’ve not been included, uninvited, ignored and too deeply invested in the surrounding world. But not anymore. Not right now.
I am also offering this as a means of peace to act as a treaty between us.
Now is another morning. The sun is still sleeping and perhaps so is the rest of the world.
But me, I’m awake. My eyes are open.
I remember telling a roomful of people about the right to dream.
I explained that dreams allow us the vision of what we want in life. I also told them, “How can you have what you want if you don’t know what it looks like?”
“You have to see this.”
“You have to picture what you want and then go after it,” is what I told the room.
So, what do I want?
What does this look like?
At some point, we come to a state of awareness.
We find ourselves at the crossroads of sameness and projection or difference and hope.
At some point, we have to come to a decision.
Either we live or we only exist.
And today, I’m choosing to live.
So goodbye old self.
Hello new person.
I’ve been waiting to meet you for a very long time.
So glad you could finally make it.
By the way, there’s no need to leave the light on for us anymore –
We won’t be coming back . . .
Right about now, 32 years ago, I was driving around with a nickel-plated .357 beneath my driver’s seat.
I was a person of “interest” for several different reasons which meant I noticed each and every time a police car was behind me.
That person is gone now.
I said goodbye to that version of me a long time ago.
I only reach out to him with letters like this to remind him that I know where we were.
But we don’t live there anymore.