Staying on an island, we can only imagine what other islands must be like. If they are near, we can crane our heads to look at as much as possible. If they are far, we have to guess. If we want to really find out, if we want to determine first-hand, if we want to experience, we must plunge into the water and swim there. And for that, we must leave the ground beneath our feet, at least for some time.
There are factors to consider. What if we don’t like what we find in the other island(s)? What if it’s a big disappointment? What if we cannot adapt? What if we like it, but it does not welcome us? What if so many other things?
The question mark is bigger if there is no other land in sight. We can only hope that not only are there other places to go, but some or at least one of them is suitable and accessible. Would we take the plunge if the next stop is not in sight, ready to welcome us? If we do not know where we can reach? Is the wish to explore strong enough? Or justified?
And that brings us to the biggest question. Do we WANT to try another place? That too taking some risks, as mentioned above? After all, how long will we keep moving? This is known territory; beyond it, uncertainty. And then, what is the agenda? Do we want to ‘establish’ ourselves? Build and grow some things that take time? Do we want a bungalow with our name on the door or a room full of souvenirs steeped in memories, collected first-hand? Is there a fixed place in our mind where we’ll stick no matter how difficult? Will we try to make the impossible possible, if necessary? Or is the plan to keep travelling? And hence, not ‘settle’ anywhere?
The choices are ours.
As we know so well, we cannot have it all. The candidate with 49% votes must give way to the one with 51%, if it comes to that. To secure something we cannot do without, we may have to give up a few other things we also value considerably – maybe greatly, but not as greatly as the other. To move on, we must leave behind. To make place for the new, we must put aside the old. There is always a price; always an effort required. We cannot have the good and keep the money.
I can see, looking back, a bit of empty land where a seed was sown. It then grew up, took shape, and became a fair-sized plant. Then one day, I decided to uproot it, because I wanted to grow something else, but didn’t have place to spare. I hesitated, considered, reconsidered. But I knew that the longer I took, the tougher it would become. So I pulled up the plant – a bit of which had been given to me, a bit of which I had grown myself – and while doing so, felt a pull somewhere inside me, too. It wasn’t unfamiliar or unexpected, but it was sobering. I guess this is what is called bittersweet.