In the Scheme of Things
Mar 12, 2015
A hundred years ago, most physicians in this country didn't have college degrees, most houses didn't have bathtubs, and no woman could vote. Fifty years ago, life expectancy was 70, a first class stamp was a nickel, and only ten percent of adults had college degrees. Twenty-five years ago, most people hadn't used a computer, email was new, and Amazon was a river in South America.
It doesn't take much hindsight to see the impact of change. And this century is guaranteed to bring more; some positive; some not. But regardless of how it impacts, change requires more than acknowledging it happened. And personal change issues require even more.
A decade ago, my husband and I moved to Montana after years of discussion and planning. I dreamed of trading a corporate role on the east coast for a writing career in the town where I was born. Despite how excited I was to make that shift and how prepared I thought I was to reach a long held author-dream, I felt empty and lost. I expected a light switch going from one to the other and instead got an emotional jolt. The transition process of letting go of who I was so I could become who I am today, caught me by surprise.
We think we need to address only the exterior trappings of change. But in reality, even wonderful changes we choose require an inner emotional adjustment. Getting married is a change; learning how to live as married is a transition. Transitions - whether they're positive, negative or neutral involve letting go of the way things were.
Even if you desperately want your first child, and no matter how excited you are about her birth, you must come to terms with what her arrival changes for you. Who are you as a parent? What must you let go of now that you have responsibility for her? How will your life be different? Your daughter's arrival brings change. Before you can fully embrace who you are in this next chapter called "parent," an inner psychological and emotional transition is required.
Unlike change, which happens swiftly, transition occurs over time. Retirement is a change. Dealing with it is a transition. What does it mean not to actively work? To have this identify? Who will you be now that you aren't who you were? As long as you hold onto the way things were, you won't move to what is, or what could be. We all know people who can't let go and who resist becoming, even when they say they want to.
For awhile I've been contemplating a directional change in my life, recognizing and perhaps resisting the emotional transition I know it involves. But something clicked recently when I happened upon a Pinterest board with these Paolo Coelho words: "Close some doors. Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because they no longer lead somewhere."
In the scheme of things, things do change. Like the certainly that winter turns into spring, they always have and always will. Chosen or not, the reality is we will never be the same person we were before that change occurred. But the good news is sometimes we don't want to be. The nature of any important change requires us to transition and evolve who we are. And sometimes that process of our becoming can only begin when we close a few doors for ourselves.