When I left my home province, I said goodbye, many of them. When I did, I didn’t realize exactly how big a move it was nor the internal shifts to come.
This week, I’m present in the psychological shift my son and his partner are making in a continental move. From one country, across an honest to goodness ocean, to another.
They’ve begun the process of goodbyes.
Goodbye not just to people, but the places and activities they’ve enjoyed. To the laid-back culture of west coast Canada, with arguably some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.
The time has come for them however, to move on, to explore and expand their worlds.
Exterior change is the least of it
Goodbye, is more than even all that. It’s also the recognition that the person you were when you arrived, isn’t the person who’s leaving.
If it were, you wouldn’t be making this move.
Think about that for a moment. Please.
When we look at life with a forward intent, there will always be some part of ourselves we must let go. The outward journey, from one geographical location to another is small in comparison to what is taking place from our inward space.
“The journey between what you once were and who you are becoming is where the dance of life really takes place.” Barbara De Angelis
When I left my home province, I was 25, a university graduate who thought she had met and was marrying a man with whom she would spend the rest of her years. The move away helped her create a distance from family she loved, but who were largely toxic to her. She didn’t really come to know that until later.
When you decide that you are ready to embrace something new, when your mind aches for it, and you follow that yearning, you are also accepting change.
“All changes…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.” Anatole France
The act of saying goodbye is both the pain and promise of change
The biggest changes, those deaths of identity, are both painful and exhilarating. It has meant letting go of ideological, societal ideas of success and allowing the growth of a new identity to emerge.
While it may be cliched to think of the caterpillar’s metamorphosis from worm to butterfly, it has its place.
Accepting the forward movement, listening and acting upon our internal drive to be more than how we started, results in a similar if less outwardly dramatic change.
Yet! The person I was three decades ago, bears little resemblance to the person who writes today.
Then, while I may have wished to be writing, I felt I had little of value to say, little which would be helpful to others. I certainly couldn’t conceive of breaking away from tradition — from the church I had been indoctrinated, to the marital promise of til death we do part.
None of those changes were easy. Each felt, in their own way, as if I was ripping off a layer of skin, of who I was. Yet, even knowing there would be pain, realizing not making the changes even more painful.
Difficult decisions, but nevertheless, the right ones.
Our growth shifts and transforms our views of self and other
Now, as I watch my son and his partner prepare for the great unknown, I applaud their joint and singular transformations. The duo I say goodbye to, will not be the duo I say hello to in four years.
Their ideas of themselves, the world and themselves in the world, will have shifted.
Of course, that’s true for me too. Who I am now, will surely have changed, becoming a thread in the larger tapestry of my life.
It might be uncomfortable from time to time, but growing into our next adventure, our next challenge creates a richness and depth we can barely imagine. This goodbye is only one of many to come. Just as certainly as the hellos that will follow.
If you are trembling on the edge of change, I encourage you to take a breath, and step into it. There are people waiting to greet you on the other side. And if you need a guide, email me. I can help.
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