All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind is part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter into another.
Anatole France (seen on http://jallecafe.typepad.com/jallecafe/2007/01/favorite_quote_.html
I have been thinking a lot about change and transition recently. Today is the last day of my pre-baby life - tomorrow we get to meet and love baby ncot for the first time and, as everyone tells us, our lives will change. I don't often do well with change. I like stability and sameness. Even when it is a good change, I sometimes struggle. But the quote above helps me. It reminds me that all change is about death and rebirth. I am leaving behind one life as a woman without children and entering a new one as a mother and this transition has been such a strong force in my life for the past years. In giving birth through c-section, I won't have that transition between dilating and pushing, but I have been having a period of transition in this last week since leaving work.
Why is it so hard for me to let go and relinquish control? I have a mental image of swinging down into the abyss and then letting go and plunging into uncertainty. With my work at the bank and PWG, I have competent and trusted colleagues who will be doing my work and yet it is still hard. Maybe my mental image should rather be that of a baton being passed in a relay race, because ultimately we are working towards the same goal. Or perhaps of a high trapeze act - I am swinging, but then passing someone further across the void.
A better visual imagesis that of a bridge across this gap. On the other side I have my career, my professional identity, everything I have strived so hard to achieve in my life thus far. Certainty. Hard Work. And on the other side I have my new role as a mother and our new life as family. Uncertainty. No skills yet for this. But excitement and love.
And the transition between these two worlds is made possible through this bridge, the walk from one side to the other. The walk between these two states allows me time and space to gradually leave one "bank" and to join the other. Underneath the bridge I let the waters of my worries and stresses and fears and nonsense float away down stream. I can even lean over and play pooh sticks, an enduring favourite game in our family.
No other travellers can tell me how to cross this bridge, or what it will feel like on the other side. Or how much baggage I need to take with me. Or how I define and grow my family life on the other side. I have to live this transition for myself, to work it our for myself, using my intuition and not just reading it up in books! And in 6 months time I will walk again in the opposite direction, back towards my job and profession, which will be just as hard - leaving behind baby, daily life, flat, freedom, time to meet friends in cafes. And for the rest of my working and and family life, I will be walking back and forth across this bridge, balancing the demands on me from each side of the bank - self and career, self and family.
And every now and again, I will stop on the bridge, lean over and watch the waters below flow by.