Friday 30 December 2016

Closing a chapter in your life

Life is a long line of goodbyes. We have to say goodbye to our childhood, to friends, to hometowns, to jobs, to relationships, to the youthful skin we used to have (what up with all that extra skin all of a sudden?).
For something that's so much part of everybody's life, we don't handle it very well.
Because here's the thing: Goodbyes are hard. There's no way around it. Exchanging what's familiar and comfortable for something unknown is scary.

What if it's worse than what we had before?
What if it doesn't work out?
What if we don't like it?
What if it's a mistake?

Fear has a field day when we're contemplating a change in our life. It will gleefully list everything that could go wrong, and blithely ignore all that could go right.

Because, here is the other thing:

What if it will be better than what we had before?
What if it does work out?
What if we like it? (Or even love it?)
What if it isn't a mistake?

I have learnt to listen to my gut more than my head. My head is not unlike a hyperactive toddler, easily distracted by different people and opinions, flitting from one thing to another, unable to calm down and focus.
But my gut is immune to the outside noise. It knows when something feels right, and when it doesn't.

Our gut can be easily drowned out by our mind and outside voices. But it's there, in its quiet and unassuming way, and it's trying to tell you something. All you have to do is shut off the outside cacophony of voices, sit down, and listen. Easier said than done, I know.
It can take a while (months, or even years), but if a possible change is looming on the horizon, there will be subtle signs popping up in your life.

You don't want to get up in the morning? That's telling you something.
Delaying your departure to work until the last possible moment? That's telling you something.
You get the opportunity to solve all your money woes in one fall swoop? The only thing standing in your way is your own fear (and other people's opinion)? You would be crazy to say no.
You still have that dream that you have been trying to ignore for years, but that just won't go away? If it hasn't gone away in 27 years, it will probably stick around until the end of your days, either unfulfilled (which is frustrating as hell), or you could finally give it a try.  

Slowly but surely, our stars aligned over this past year and pointed us into a new direction.
Nothing was wrong with our old life - but several things just didn't feel right any more. Neighbours were complaining; we had the great chicken massacre of 2016 (150 chickens were killed by coyotes, a horrifying first); our bank tightened the screws on us; and both our work places had some issues. The signs were there, and in June more signs were added to them: Literal 'For Sale'-signs all over the neighbourhood. The writing was on the wall, and we realized, it was now or never. Some chances only come along once, and if you don't seize it, you may live to regret it.

Of course we thought endlessly about the goodbyes. About possibly losing friendships, leaving a secure job and co-workers that had become as close as family behind, giving up a place we loved so much, about saying goodbye to the stores we know and the restaurants we love. It seems silly now, but I really agonized about not being able to walk through my neighbourhood with the dog anymore. It was a part of my routine for so long, I was worried about having to give it up.
But then I started thinking that one day, I would have to give all of that up anyway. Be it at a point in the future when we would eventually have to move, or when one of us died. This may sound macabre, but somehow that thought really helped me.
Nothing lasts forever.  
Trying to hang on to the past isn't possible. As much as we may want to, life moves on, and we have to move with it, or we will be left behind.

Having reached that conclusion, I decided that doing it now, under our own terms, made much more sense.
Over the last few weeks, as I have begun the next chapter, it was getting easier with each passing day to say goodbye to the old one. It was a precious, beautiful time in the story of my life, and one I'm very grateful for. Some parts and people will hopefully carry over into the next chapter.

At this eve of new Year's Eve, I have been reflecting a lot on the past year, and also the past 37 years of my life. This morning, I turned to Rich and said to him: "I have never been happier."
Despite all the ups and downs, the depression that still visits me sometimes, and the uncertainty of the next year, I have the wonderful, comforting feeling that I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be.
And that, my friends, is a precious, wondrous gift.

For someone who spent the first half of her life feeling trapped in the wrong life, having arrived where I belong gives me a joy I can't quite put into words.

I hope you all either have it already, or will find the place where you belong. If you haven't yet, keep on searching - the reward is worth it!

All my love, and a very Happy New Year to you all!



  1. Happy (belated) New Year and New Life Chapter. I hope it's fabulous.

    1. For both of us! 🎉🍾
      Happy New Year to you, too!


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