If you looked at my life on the surface, there aren’t any big changes. No big move, no job change, no marital status update, but look a bit deeper and I can see the transitions all around.
It’s the last day of official summer and I hope that means we transition to a cooler, crisper fall. We transition between seasons. We transition to next steps. We transition to a reclamation of former selves and a discovery of new selves.
I’m in the midst of more purging, releasing, organizing, clarifying. It starts in small categories and I feel my soul is lighter with the release of five trash bags and almost 70 pounds of clothes and shoes. Really, that was all in my closet? I find myself deep in entropy as I find more, release more, pile more. There are belongings, memories, emotional baggage, and in the words of Nanci Griffith, “unnecessary plastic objects.” It takes time for this transition, this unlevelling, this coming back to me.
When one begins the purge, it’s often because they’re ready for new adventures, new routines, new ideas, new paths. I think I’m there. The steps to new adventures will take time and I’m not sure what form they’ll take. I’m transitioning from a few years of inactivity, to finding my love of an aerobic life. Hiking, running, stepping to new adventures. It’s a slow and arduous process. Sometimes the emotions weigh more than the body. Sometimes the memories and new discoveries are lighter than air. Sometimes the transition is imperceptible to the naked eye, to the casual observer, but I feel it in my bones, the soles of my feet, and deep in my soul.
There’s a transition to letting down barriers and letting in new things. It’s a process of not only looking inward, but looking outward. New ideas, new people, new friendships, and the promise of something more. This is a difficult one for me. By nature, I’m a bit of a curmudgeon and a hermit; at least on my own time, away from work and friends. Letting down the guard is one of the most frightening and rewarding transitions of all. No matter how it turns out, it’s good to live and seek and learn.
I’m trying new paths, new methods. I’m learning to swim again with the help of a new friend. I’m reading new books. I’m writing new words. I’m finding new commitment to the workings of an inner life. I’m trying for new opportunities, instead of just dreaming about them. I’m dreaming, I’m seeking. I feel awakened, excited, and scared.
The word transition has wonderful meanings and contexts, but lately the two that come to mind are connected to triathlons and climate change. Unrelated, these are still telling and important in my world. In a triathlon, the athletes have very specific marked areas where they transition between the swim and the bike and the run. This designated area is where one changes shoes and gear, gets on and off the bike, goes from water to land, fights exhaustion and makes the journey. For competitive athletes, they say the race can be won or lost in the transitions. I think life can be made in those transition times. Paths become forged and strengthened. In the climate change connection, “transition communities” are those that are trying to deal with an uncertain and somewhat unpredictable future. Where some see disaster and disarray, others see opportunities for new paths, for new community, and even new hope. I take heart in those ideas.
Here’s to new paths and new steps taken on old paths. Here’s to awakening and discovery. Here’s to transition. Good tidings!