Change is a topic that has been settling heavily on my mind as of late. Just a few days ago, I bid adieu to a big part of my life to start on another journey. Many around me have been doing the same, and when everyone is caught in the same tumultuous wave, it comes as no surprise that feelings of confusion and unsettlement become the common language.
I am now The Graduate. Who has moved back home, pretty much a stranger, after living away for the past few years. About to start a full-time job. Let’s just say that when it rains (change), it pours.
Change means many things, doesn’t it? A double edged sword of joy and melancholy. A looking-forwardness to what could possibly in store, and a gripping sense of nostalgia for all-that-was. A burgeoning drive to move on, and a desperate obstinacy to sink back into the past.
I tweeted something the other day which basically sums up this conundrum – “caught by time, and held prisoner by space.”
It never gets easier, and no matter how much you want it not to, it will happen again and again, this change. Over the past month, I’ve had to say goodbye to some of the closest friends I’ve ever had, and whom I’ve now left behind in a continent many seas away. (Though they do say that with love, you carry pieces of it wherever you go, no matter how far apart you are).
I’ve had to spend long mornings, and longer nights giving tight hugs, taking too many polaroids, having take-out with my loves (because we didn’t have any of our pots and pans to cook) as I frantically tried to make as many memories as I could to tide me through the parting.
I’ve had to see my life (and its worldly possessions) dwindle into drab brown boxes over the past few weeks.
Oh, and I also had to go through graduation, which was a strange cross “between a wedding and a funeral”, aptly described by one of my best buds, with whom I was discussing this phenomenon with. And after all this, here I am. Going through that change. No amount of preparation has helped me settle in any easier.
The only plus side?
Having a family that is willing to put up with my emotional upheaval while I struggle into this new life as if donning on an ill-fit dress.
Misery is easier to swallow when there are others willing to share the experience with you. What I am most thankful for is the fact that my parents have let me be. My mum, usually more than helpful to suggest what I should and should not do with my time, has graciously stepped back to let me sit, ponder, mope and be quiet. She snaps me back into reality when she sees me receding into myself well enough, but she has taken the backseat and has allowed time, and silence to help me through this leg of the journey. I could not be more grateful.
My father has been the same. We have always learnt the art of silence together, so this should come as no surprise but it does. His patience and willingness to be, and just be, reminds me that this is an essential part of life. In resting, in waiting, in adjusting, in slowly picking up the pieces to resume creating the jigsaw puzzle that now paints a very different picture.
This is a strange time for all of us. We’re learning to exist in each other’s space again, relearning the choreography of shower schedules, breakfast options, sharing closet space and tv-channels. It is probably as
difficult for them, if not more. Their adolescent daughter has returned as an adult woman, with very different thoughts, feelings, and opinions.
It musn’t be easy.
Change, it isn’t easy for anyone – not the parent, and not the child.
So, we wait. As my family is learning to wait this wave out. As my parents learn to step back more, and more, to take the backseat in this family As I learn to step forward more and more, to take over the ropes of “being an adult”.
We’ll see what awaits us on the shore.
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