Sunday, December 16, 2012

Up in the air

At this exact point in time - when I am writing, but not yet publishing this blog - it is only about 10:40 pm in the UK. Dialing the clock back a bit, this means it's only about 2:40 pm in Los Angeles. I land at 7:30 pm. 15 minutes behind schedule.

Today has been fascinating, possibly just because it's brought me to so many new realizations. As my flight departed from London several hours ago, I burst out in tears and had trouble putting them to rest. I had already cried earlier at the airport, so I had hoped my tear ducts would have tired out. But I guess that is one part of my existence that I can always count on - the ability to shed a tear at any particular moment.

This "visit" to London has been something extraordinary for me. I am leaving with an attraction to the city that is no longer superficial. I love it not just for the sights and the sounds, but for the unfathomable feelings that it conjures up in my heart. That I can look out the window and the gloomy pale sky and just think how lucky I am to be in what I consider the most beautiful place in existence.

I also walk away, however, with a new understanding of myself and what I need out of life. For a long time I looked at London as a place that could sustain me in the same way that family and friends do. I feel so much love just for the city itself, that it almost felt like an alternate friend, a replacement for the kinds of relationships I have at home.

In this day and age, this shouldn't be much of a concern. We have Skype and Facebook at our disposal. And there are always people like me who use the internet to share thoughts from every waking moment of their lives. We're constantly in contact with each other.

But there's something to be said about being at home and surrounded by those you can count on. And while I see my friends parting ways and probably heading off in different directions in the very near future, I am glad that in many different points on the globe I have people who I can turn to in the event that I need them.

And people who I want to be with for the rest of my life, wherever that may be.

I'm on a plane right now, very alone. There are people all around me - except for the seat next to me, which I may happily report is empty! - but I have no one to talk to and I'm virtually cut off from the world. It's given me a moment of peace to think about what it is to be with the people I love.

Love isn't a place, even if it may manifest itself in a particular location. Love isn't a person. Or an object. Or a verb even. It's a nebulous concept that surrounds us and yet tears itself away at a moment's notice.

No matter where we are, we will never be fully surrounded by all the love we covet. Because if there's enough love in our lives, it will be scattered throughout the world.

My love right now spans countries and an ocean. But it's also right back at home, in the very place where I will be laying my head to sleep tonight.

It's also in that little land in Orange County they named after Walt Disney. But that's a love I will have to discuss some other time.

Many moons ago, I wrote a blog about the very different distinctions of love. Of object love, friendship love, familial love and romantic love. But as I left a place that, for me, oozes love, I thought of how arbitrary that whole argument becomes.

Because the feeling I feel now - of simultaneous heartache and immense and palpable passion (here come the waterworks again) - can't be defined by any of those categories.

The melancholia of leaving London is one that I doubt I could recreate for any other. It's a weird feeling because it's one that has no tangible attachment. There are moments I can relate to it, but no actual objects. And mixed in with the depression that slowly arose as I looked out over the yellow lights sprinkled around my aerial view of the city, was an odd feeling of excitement. Of leaving a place that makes my heart so full, and getting back to a place that makes my heart flutter in a different way. Completely unrelated, but equally valuable.

Right now I'm in a little netherworld between London and southern California. I'm not sure where I stand on the scale of happiness because everything is lukewarm on an airplane. But what I do know is that I'm looking forward to a few weeks in California, and I'm equally looking forward to a swift return to London.

No matter where I am, it seems there's something to be excited about.

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