I was given the opportunity to go to Sonoma County to visit my grandfather over the weekend and flew out with my dad. My grandfather has been battling cancer for 19 years and has always come out on top. He wasn’t expected to see me turn 13, or so I’ve heard. I went up with there with dramatic expectations that I was going to have these deep life conversations with him as if it was my last time seeing him. The reality is, at this point he’s on borrowed time but its not the last time I plan on seeing him.
However, it will probably be the last time that all three of us: my grandfather, my dad, and myself will all be at the same time at the same place together to spend time with each other. He met us at the airport; greeting us with a big hug as I was hit with the scent of his cologne he has worn his whole life that brought back nostalgic memories of holidays when I was younger. He looked as if he hadn’t aged a day in my eye.
The first thing I noticed as I was up there was how slow everything was. The people, the town, even the service in the restaurants. I was quickly filled with judgment on how it was so contrary to the life I live in Los Angeles and how things are here. I didn’t realize that this was a way of life. A life that was relaxing, enjoying things, yourself and the people around you.
My grandfather would pop open his photo album and go through the pictures with endless stories of the people in them; family, friends, and acquaintances. Telling me stories of his life as we laughed. As the trip went on I couldn’t help but think things like: I wish I would of laughed more with him, I wish I would of shared more, I wish I would of enjoyed more. It seems I find that in all things in life when I look back and reflect.
Back home, I live a very fast-paced lifestyle and seemed to have forgot that some people actually live this way. At times, I had neglected the simple things in life, and that a lot of the best things in life are free. When I let go of the belief of what the experience was ‘supposed’ to look and feel like I really began to experience Sonoma for what it was. I found myself in these little moments being completely present. I realized that I needed to cherish this time, that these moments where there for me to seize and enjoy.
I realized out there that as a person who got sober young, I’ve become distracted and driven in making a life for myself out here in Los Angeles. I need to remember that life is gift, its fragile and its short. Sobriety has given me a second chance to live one day at a time and not take things for granted and that gratitude is action word.
I feel blessed that I don’t have to have feelings of regret surrounding my relationship with my grandfather through the living amends that the opportunity that sobriety has given to me to be able to show up. This trip was an amazing experience and left me reflecting a lot on my perspective on life and to not get too caught up in the daily distractions that life throws us.