Packing and unpacking… literally and figuratively!
Every year, (Canadian) Thanksgiving is transition time for me.
Staring out at the rainbow of colours transforming the woods around me, I can’t help relating to the beautiful, deciduous trees – preparing to shed this year’s growth in sacrifice for what’s to come.
Packing up and closing my house for the season, they remind me that change (as beautiful as it can be), always comes with some level of loss. Sometimes it’s simply a loss of comfort and familiarity, other times a complete shedding of what is no longer needed.
And so, while I feel gratitude for my time at the lake, and excitement for the adventures to come, I’m also struck by a sort of sadness and uneasiness this time of year – what will change for me this season, and what might I lose in the process?
It’s the process that causes me the anxiety – the “in-between-time”.
Maybe it’s my impatience.
Maybe it’s my need to have everything “figured out”.
This transition time tests me on many levels. As usual, I’ll be squatting at my sister’s place, while juggling days required to maintain Canadian residency and healthcare coverage.
“For how long?”
(Friends and family ask me this constantly.)
Truth is, I don’t know.
(Part of me loves that. Part of me doesn’t.)
Last year, I had the happy distraction of preparing for a 6 week European tour, and a month in Costa Rica. This year, my time is shaping up to be much different. Although geographically I don’t plan to travel as far, metaphorically I’m preparing for a much bigger journey – one that requires more courage than ever before! (More to come on that later!)
I have some fear over how this time will go.
I have some anxiety over the urgency I feel to make it happen, now!
It’s like – “summer’s over, Christmas is coming, time to make it happen!”
Each year I go through this same dance of expecting to settle right in and be super productive Day 1, and a resistance that slaps me in the face and urges me to hibernate for the winter.
You’d think by now I’d figure out it isn’t quite that simple.
Transitions take time.
Changes take their toll – even those we choose intentionally.
Hauling suitcases in and out of the car, and attempting to find temporary space for it all, without completely taking over my sister’s house, it dawns on me how much work it is to live this way.
I think of the yearly process of sorting what stays and what goes, the tedious debate I have about whether I should keep that box of clothes I never wear, and the eventual realization that it’d be a whole lot easier if I travelled with only a backpack and a laptop.
Then it dawns on me… I choose this life for many reasons… none of which are “because it’s easy” – because frankly, it isn’t.
It would be easier to stay in one place.
It would be easier to work for one company.
It would be easier to follow the status quo.
It would be easier… yes, but not worth it – not to me.
I don’t long for “easy” or dream of comfortable.
Do I want things in my life to flow?
Yes, of course.
But I’m also more interested in alignment and meaning than I am in simple and easy.
So I offer this to all of you going through (or debating) a transformation of your own…
If you are out there dreaming of a richer, fuller life – awed or envious of those you imagine are already living it – know that it doesn’t come with a guarantee of “easy”.
It has challenges.
It takes work.
It’s sometimes tedious.
But along the way, if you’re willing enough to embrace the process of change, with all its’ colourful expressions, there’s a joy, a connection, a discovering that makes it all worthwhile.
May all your seasons of change be beautiful and fruitful!