Change is hard. Change ir really hard and it can hurt. There are so many things that have changed in my life the last five-six years, picking just one to write about is practically impossible.
The changes people experience can be small, like changing cars and getting used to driving a sedan after years of driving a SUV; this is minimal change and you get used to it quickly. Changing jobs, for the most part, is difficult- your brain, skills and habits were programmed one way, now thay have to serve a different purpose. With practice it becomes a new habit, routine and a new program in your head, a new software is installed and you keep going.
I am an avid fan of change. I love and thrive at the thrill of the new, of what's to come next and all it will bring. I have changed jobs, changed addresses (too many and I am sooo done!- for now- insert wink here), even changed the way I am around people. I don't think I have changed who I am, but I do believe that with time and life experience, I have changed certain little behavior patterns for the sake of having a better relationship; relationship with my family, my son, my friends. I reach out more often, I plan family visits, I include them in my life. I look up and say thank you. As independent as I was taught to be, a huge lesson I have learned is that you can't do everything alone. I thought I did and proudly, yet exhausted, wore the crown of Mom of the Decade, because I did it all by myself. What a crock! Been there, done that and I could write a whole book about that, but for now I realize that I have had to change little bits of me in order to be better. Even change some of the environment around me because it simply was not healthy, as comfortable as it was. These are good changes, good little mantras to say, especially when it comes to making them part of a daily, intentional commitment in order to be a better daughter, mother, niece, cousin, friend, colleague, community member.
However, there are those times when change brings goodbyes. We say goodbye in different ways. We say bye even when we know and believe we will see the person, or the place we visited, again. Yes, I am that silly sentimental that said goodbye to Disney World, to the Statue of Liberty, to Old San Juan, and every time I drive on I-75 on my way to the airport and turn towards campus, I see the blue dome of the chapel and say bye, see you soon. I say bye to places, things. Why? Because I believe in them, that's all. Saying good bye to a person when you don't know when you will see them again can hurt, though. I have had to say goodbye to many, many people in my soon to be thirty eight (38, yikes!) years in this world. When I was twelve I had to say goodbye to my mother and while I didn't quite understand everythng that was happening, I understood death to be that final goodbye; the one that is suppose to hurt like no other hurt, in your heart, body and soul. Yet, because it was a good bye brought to us by death, it was dare I say, easier to face. Not the death of your mother at twelve years old, but the goodbye itself. It was final, not dragged out. There was closure, eventhough I had no idea what closure was.
When a final goodbye comes under circumstance that only change brings, makes it hard to swallow because of a routine established which we were so used to. It hurts when you must say goodbye to a good friend, a fun co-worker that leaves the office, a high school friend you still are close to, a spouse or partner, a way of living. Goodbyes bring change in talk, chat, text, email, and how often you do it. The daily good mornigns on your way to get coffee are not there. The evening call and daily recap of the day's drama does not come. The deep, thought provocking conversations about issues in poverty and education, higher ed and raising money so students can have access to the amazing education we provide, only left to memory.
So why blog about this? Simply because I have had to live some of these good byes and the change they bring, recently. This change is not the thrilling, exciting one I welcome and embrace. This one hurts. It hurts because of the little things we will miss. The routine is broken and it's hard to get used to a new one. And while this and so many thoughts fill my head with memories, conversations and questions, the voice, (yes, God, I know it's you) tells me to be patient, to again, take one day at a time and to never forget that with time all the hurting will go away. Even years ago, I am reminded that the hurt of embracing a new life went away after time helped me embrace it.
Time heals, I do know that for a fact. After years of blaming myself for making decisions that were not true to who I was and what I wanted, time (and a little Julia Roberts in "Eat, Pray, Love") helped me find forgiveness. The forgiveness in myself, first, for not speaking up, for not being honest and riskier in taking leaps of faith according to ME and not others. Time has indeed, helped heal.
Everything happens for a reason, and perhaps that reason is not clear at this moment, but for many of us, who have had to change jobs, addresses, behaviors, routines and say many goodbyes to dearest friends and family, we must not lose faith and believe. I believe and will continue to embrace change, no matter how much it hurts. Why? Because I have to. There's only one life to live and amidts all the trials and challenges, the pain and goodbyes, there is also all the joy, love and "new days" that come with it.
Every day is indeed a gift and while change and goodbyes suck, yes, they do at times, things can only get better, right? I do hope so. With each new day comes an empty, clear canvas waiting to be splattered with colorful paint. Mistakes will be made, but at the end of the day a work of art is displayed. Life is a journey, not a destination and many, many things change and bring more goodbyes, but also bring hellos and opportunities... That is what we (I) will live for.
Both light and shadow are the dance of love- Rumi.