It’s interesting to reflect on the things that we reference for our sense of security, to know who we are and where we are in relation to space and time. Things like definitions of identity: wife, daughter, teacher which are subject to change at any moment, and when they do change, can leave you grasping for some sense of your place in the world.
I remember a time in my early 20’s when I had graduated from college during the recession and had a tough time finding a job. I had always been what my definition of successful was. I got good grades, stayed out of trouble, found myself in a wonderful relationship and did well at most of the things I attempted. All of a sudden I found myself in a place where I was unemployed, and questioning who I was. I realized I had been defining myself by the things I did, and while I hadn’t changed, my feelings about myself had. Ultimately I became aware of the false ground I was building my identity on.
Now, I find myself in a similar situation where so much of my life feels in transition I find myself questioning who I am and what my place in this world is going to become over the next year or so and it reminds me that everything can change in an instant. Mark Nepo said “We either willfully shed, or we are broken open”. For me it's a little of both. Yes, it’s true that life is always changing, and we are always changing. Sometimes it’s so subtle it feels like a slow shedding until you find yourself wearing new skin, a gentle process. Sometimes it’s less subtle, a breaking, painful because you don’t want to let go, and in the end that breaking has broken you open. The fact is, change is promised, and the more we resist it, the more it hurts in the process.
The more major changes we have all at once, the harder it can be to find your footing. I find myself thinking about starting a family at the same time that my father’s health is failing, and my job is changing, and it’s hard. These major parts of our lives help us to know where we are and where we are heading, and when they are in transition if can be difficult to find your way. At least that’s how I feel. I cant explain it, but for some reason I feel like I’m going to come out on the other side of this having shed a skin through the process.
Two months ago, I would have had no idea all of these changes were in store to happen so quickly. If you’re in a similar situation, know that this is a normal part of life. At some point we will all be hit in the head with moments like these. Breathe. Take care of yourself, and find moments that help you to connect with yourself and your sense of calm. For me it’s yoga, and spending time with my family. Interestingly, my father’s poor health has brought all of us closer together as we rally to figure out the next steps for him and support one another through the process. If you need to, know it’s okay to let go of the extra things that take energy for now. You can pick them back up later on when you have energy to spare. But do, continue to practice your self-care as these moments are when you need self-care the most. Use your support. Talk about it with those that can support you. I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve talked with my husband about what I’m going through and how I’m feeling. It always helps. Finally, keep moving forward. All things change and this too shall pass.