Learning to embracing the now

“I can’t wait.”

We all say it, whether we’re waiting to catch up with an old friend, making plans for after work drinks or planning a fabulous vacation.

“I can’t wait” is an easy way for us to express our excitement, anticipation and joy at what our future holds, be it in the long, or short term. Sure it’s “just a phrase,” but it seems like many of us live by that phrase. In our fast-paced world of the Internet and social media — where everything is instantaneous and we don’t have to wait for anything — “I can’t wait” more and more accurately describes our increasing lack of patience and inability to enjoy the now and simply be.

Embracing the now at Zion National Park in Utah.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m looking forward to the future and am lucky that I have a lot of things to look forward to. And I definitely find myself casually uttering this phrase when talking about upcoming plans.

Currently, “I can’t wait” for:

  • A trip back to Pennsylvania to see friends and family
  • A couple mini-trips away to places around where I live (Death Valley, Sedona, Joshua Tree)
  • An epic two-month road trip exploring the US national parks
  • My move back to New Zealand

However, as excited as I am for all of this, I’m also apprehensive.

The more I plan exciting trips, the quicker I seem to fall into the cliché that “time flies when you’re having fun,” and the quicker my life flies by.

As much as I’m excited for what my future holds, I’m also nervous, apprehensive and a little sad. As I move forward and tick off each of these plans, I’m acutely aware that this chapter — this hefty chapter of my life — is coming to an end.

And that, I can wait for.

On the move: Air New Zealand plane photo looking over the could.

It’s been more than four years since I first moved to America, and by the time I return to New Zealand, I will have been gone for more than five. I’ve loved my time here in the US, the ups, downs and roundabouts, and although I can’t wait to go home and spend time with my family and friends — and enjoy a good Kiwi summer — I’m not sure if I’m ready to part with this country and the incredible people I’ve met here.

America is the only country I’ve known in my young-adult life (since I went to college, graduated, and moved out of home) and the idea of leaving that behind to start something new is a little scary.

As much as I’m excited to begin my road trip in July, I know that being on the road means I’ll be done with my job, I’ll have moved out of my beautiful apartment, and my legal residency in this country will have expired.

And that breaks my heart just a little.

Saying Goodbye: Beautiful sunset over Key West in Florida.

Once I hit the road, I’m officially leaving. Sure I’m taking two months to do so, and I plan on making the absolute most out of what I know will be an incredible experience — the perfect end to my tenure in the US — but for that, I can wait.

I can wait to pack up my apartment.

I can wait to finish my job.

I can wait to ship boxes home — boxes of all the stuff I’ve accumulated over the past four years that can’t fit into the two suitcases I originally came here with.

I can wait to say my goodbyes to the people I’ve met, the friends that have become family, and the foreign country that has become my home.

I can wait for that 40-hour journey home.

You can bet your ass that I’m about to make the absolute most out of my next four months here. And when the time does come to move home, I’ll make the absolute most out of the time I get to spend back in New Zealand, the place that first was and always Wilby (couldn’t resist sorry) my home.

Because when it comes to life, and how I want to live it, I can wait.

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