I used to imagine the end of this trip would have some kind of finish line, some banner that read "The End!" When we crossed under it, I would feel elated, ecstatic and prouder than I've ever felt. Our families would be there cheering, we'd get some bucket of ice water dumped on our heads, and maybe someone would hoist us on their shoulders and parade us around like heroes.
All of this dramatic hoopla basically boiled down to one thing: I wanted an outside cue, some external recognition that would tell me "You did it! You finished! Now rest happily, child, you've done enough." I wanted someone or something else to give me a feeling of closure to celebrate the end of this massive project Tyler and I so blithely took on three years ago.
But, as I grow older, I've come to realize that nothing outside ourselves is going to validate this experience and tell us when enough is enough. Only we can decide when we're done, when we've worked hard enough, when we can pen the very last word of this grand adventure, and then close the book, tie it with a ribbon, and feel proud and accomplished.
Right now, in this sunny hotel room, on a hot February day in the capital of Laos, we're doing just that. We're making the executive decision to finish this chapter of our lives. It lacks the fanfare I fantasized about, the hoopla, and the recognition. As it turns out, "the end" is actually quite anti-climactic. But after two years of action-packed adventure, I am really okay with anti-climactic. We make our own celebrations.
This is the way the world endsT.S. Eliot
Not with a bang but a whimper.