It is time to make a change.
I have been thinking about change, feeling the need for change, following the Crumbs leading to change, and sucker-punched by the fear of change for some time now.
While I can absolutely see a new horizon for myself and I can clearly imagine the new and unknown adventures that await me, while I am excited knowing that change will lead to a new and improved version of me … I find myself hanging on to the present for dear life, desperately clinging to what I know.
I have been in the same profession, living in the same geographic environs, and residing in the same home for 14 years now. Fourteen years! Even as I write that number, I find it staggering and hard to believe. It is the longest I have ever been in one place.
Maybe that is why letting go is proving to be harder than I anticipated. Maybe I have gotten out of the practice or habit of change. Is that even possible?
In this emotional stalemate, in a desperate attempt to replace the Clash lyrics “… should I stay or should I go …” playing non-stop in my subconscious, I turned to the sage words of Fred Rogers:
Often when you think you’re at the end of something,
you’re at the beginning of something else.
Leave it to the calm and reassuring voice of Mr. Rogers to provide the glimmer of hope I need.
I began thinking about my life’s beginnings and endings, first and lasts. Initially, they were just one-off remembrances, but it didn’t take much for me to connect them, and then to see the pattern they created. Even in what I thought, at the time, was a dark hour, in retrospect, with time and life experience to draw on, I could see how life changing and affirming those dark times turned out to be. They were a call to action; a challenge to rise and be my best self. Fearful in the moment, yes, but remarkable in the end.
With this in mind, I couldn’t figure out why I’ve been convincing myself this time would be different, this time the change would be too much to deal with. Where is my faith in myself? What am I afraid of? What could possible happen that might be so bad?
Sigh. Maybe someday I will learn. When you ask yourself a question, you must be prepared for the truthful answer. And often, at least for me, the truth hurts.
I did everything I could, going to great lengths to concoct a through-line of my life’s beginning and endings, so as not to acknowledge the obvious. But while you can run, you can’t hide from your own life. At least I can’t. Maybe at one time I could, but not now.
The painful truth is that this time, standing at the precipice of change, I am standing on my own. Totally alone. Just me.
Looking back, accompanying the great inflection points in my life, I was fortunate to have a significant other by my side—halving the fears and doubling the joys. Amazing how much easier it is to be brave when you are taking a leap with someone.
I was loved into being. Bolstered by love, I had the courage to confront change, to face the risks and challenges necessary to grow, to leap into the unknown. But this time, as I look around, I am standing all by myself.
Having just finished reading The Barn At The End of The World: The Apprenticeship of a Quaker, Buddhist Shepherd by Mary Rose O’Reilley, the imagery of her words described my exact predicament:
The soul must stand in her own meager feathers and learn to fly—or simply take hopeful jumps into the wind.
Meager feathers. That is exactly how it feels. So ill-equipped and unprepared to take the next step.
It is time for me to stand on my own. This time, change is all about me. It is my turn to fly, untethered and unfettered, alone. I know this to be true. I want it to be true. Yet, sadly, I remain paralyzed by the fear of letting go.
I can’t say that I have been able to let go just yet, but my grip is loosening. I have found the courage to take a few hopeful jumps into the wind. This time, I know I need to love myself into being. That will be my hopeful jumps into the wind. Loving me for the me of who I am.
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