Behold Gia (not the most flattering picture of her but it will have to do), one of the only items/plants in my apartment I haven’t tried to move around in the past few weeks (mostly because she is too heavy and secondly because she is in the correct bagua for a tree and I don’t want to disturb my Feng Shui). I have been a crazy woman and this sort of behavior is what I do when I feel a lot of change happening all at once — I attempt to create change that I can control. Living alone I can easily control how to change my surroundings…so I do and it becomes obsessive (and somewhat dangerous moving large pieces of furniture alone).
Truth be told I haven’t felt much like myself the past few weeks. It isn’t the kind of down mood that I can move through with a dance party around my apartment or a good pint of Ben and Jerry’s. It’s a feeling that resonates in my entire being that won’t seem to let up. It’s a feeling of being homeless (I’ve even been having dreams about having to move apartments), I’ve felt this way a few times in the past…when I started college and even when I moved to San Francisco. Each time I have felt this emotion before it has been knowing things will never be the same again.
And that’s what sadness and emotions do, “emotion” literally means to “move through.” We feel what we need to feel as a way of transitioning to what is next in our lives. The relationship to my PCC home I’ve had for several years now is changing and with it, a mourning of the past in order to move forward. I left my Colorado home for a new place and now feel myself out growing this one as well. Don’t get me wrong, I know new, exciting things are just on the horizon for me, but the space between the old ending and the new beginning has a gap. This gap for me holds sadness. Anatole France has a beautiful quote that describes my current state, “All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.”
Transformation, like death, is beautiful. We change…we grow for the better. And yet, the transition still holds pain. Leaving PCC isn’t the only relationship I’m transforming… I’m turning 30 soon. The relationship to myself has been changing at such a rapid pace I’m consistently confused about myself. It’s not that I’m sad about getting older, it’s that I witness how much I’m changing as a person and it simultaneously frightens and excites me. Who will I be in another 30 years? Will I even recognize myself?
This picture to the left is of me at one years old and it overwhelms me. I look into my own eyes and wonder if it’s really me I’m seeing. Who is she? What does she see? What was she thinking at that moment? Did she know who she would become? Was she aware of herself changing?
I can’t know the answer to these questions and don’t really need to, but there’s something happening within me that I can’t ignore. I’m changing a lot and I no longer feel a strong sense of place for myself in the world. For now all I can do is sit in my apartment, where I can change things whenever I want, and believe that all of it is happening for the best. Because it seems what is really happening is realizing that my relationship to change is actually what’s changing.
So what is the best response to feeling sad about large life changes, to not feeling we have a place to call home anymore? I think it’s doing exactly what I’m doing…admitting how hard it is (instead of moving around furniture at 3 a.m.), talking about it (whether on a blog or with my friends), and moving forward into the possibilities for what’s next. For if a home really does it’s job, then we are transformed for the better by having been there. We can have more than one place to call home, and we can leave and return when we need — but we have to know that we’ve changed and remember why we left. We notice the transition and in noticing come back home to ourselves, yet again.