Sitting by the fire with my only family in the US, staring into the fire on a Fall evening, beers in hand and having laughs. Yet I felt for the rubber fast forward button on my imaginary remote. The intensity of this last few weeks of knowing I was about to go sliding into the next chapter, so much of me struggles to be in the present in these moments. I want to make it speed, flicker across the screen quickly and just get there already. The goodbyes or as people remind me “see you laters” are just more common in my life than I like at all. So instead of being in the moment I want to rip off the band aid. I stand up, sit back down. I am restless. I truly want to be here and soak this time up but so many thoughts race through.

Yet then my cousin gets up, who is like my little brother. Stands in front of fire and addresses the small group there. Some friends of his and my good buddy Dan. A little speech arises, he wishes me on my way and talks about how he sees me. Tears well in my eyes in the dark. I’m back in the moment. I don’t really know what to say but he knows I really appreciated that.

Later on I stand by the embers and so does my cousin. He looks at me, I see a thought pass through his eyes, and he looks away.

“What was that thought?”

“Nah don’t worry.”

“No, come on!”

“It wasn’t nice”

“I want to know even more now!”

“Well, I looked at you and thought, we are getting old.”

“We are!!” I chuckled.

“And I also thought, where did 14 year old you go?”

We stared into the fire, the night coming to an end and I was in the moment for now. Picking up the remnants of the cook out, we walked inside humming The Backstreet Boys.

I did the things.

I chose the path that takes me home to Australia. It took a while to realise that NYC was not a city I came to, for NYC. But for other reasons, and I do not feel like I am failing because I leave the big city of lights behind. If anything I take on a new chapter full of opportunity back in Melbourne as opposed to the dead ends that were in NYC.

I will be sad to say bye to my friends shortly, but these same friends are the ones who helped me see that going home is going to be the best way forward. And I am excited. Back into my industry of venue management and at the same time my writing is progressing wonderfully.

I printed my first book and it arrived in the mail. I opened it and held the physical being of my words and I was so proud. It was such a step into the next chapter of sharing my passion with the world. Do the things that make you happy and which then ripple out and make others happy. It’s a good way to be.

I sit and write this as I look over the Pacific Ocean in North California. It is chilly but sunny, there are two owls hovering like helicopters above, trying to eye out a mouse. The sun is dancing back at me from the water’s glassy top. The tall brown grass on the cliffs softens the dramatic jagged rocks below. And I am lucky to sit here and see this as I think about my way forward. I finished my job that sucked the life from me but where I met such wonderful souls. Was a good experience overall. And now I head back to NYC for a few more weeks before I bring myself and a few bags of NYC on a QANTAS jet across the seas. I will snap my fingers and will be in Australia, looking back at this moment while the sea roars below and will remember the salty smell as the deers bounce by through the grass.