Change is scary, let's look at it differently.
I went on an adventure this summer. A dear friend took a month off to travel in Europe and started her trip in Lisbon. Lisbon has been on my wish list for a couple of years and it seemed too good an opportunity to miss, even though I had just put my house on the market!
I wasn’t sure how long I would be able to travel or where we might go, so I booked a one-way ticket, three nights in a hotel and packed my bag. This is very unlike me. Despite the fact that I regularly backpacked in my 20’s as I have got older (particularly after having children) my travel arrangements have become much more elaborate. But it felt exciting to have the freedom to travel for as long as I wanted and to be able to return home from a different city. That is until 3am on the morning of my flight!
I woke up in a cold sweat. What on earth was I thinking? No return flight, no idea of where I would stay after three nights, estate agents coming to take photos while I was away, builders coming to repair a leak. I must be mad!
By the time Holly came downstairs to drive me to the airport, I had decided it was all a mistake and I should stay at home. She took one look at me and said, “I think you really need this trip.”I think this was code for, “Mum we need to get you out of the house or you are going to drive us all crazy!”
She was right, I did need the trip and it was an adventure and a wonderful reminder of the joy of travel and exploration.
Fast forward a month and Holly moved into a new home last week end. She’s found a lovely room nearby which means she can now commute to work. Saturday morning she was feeling wobbly about the whole thing and it reminded me of how I felt that morning before I left for Lisbon.
Except this time I recognised all the symptoms of transition.
When I had Faith I found a private midwife. A wonderful lady called Dorothy. My labour with Holly and Patrick was really tricky and I couldn’t face going through it again. As I prepared for Faith’s arrival, Dorothy asked me what had happened before. I explained that each time I would reach a point when I couldn’t bear it any longer and I would find myself thinking, “Get me out of here!” and I would start trying to negotiating with nature.
“This was a terrible idea, I’ve changed my mind, I don’t actually want a baby so if you could just take it back please, I’m sorry to have bothered you.”
Dorothy explained that what I was describing was a recognised phase in labour called transition. It’s the final stage and known to be the most painful but immediately after the urge to “push” comes and it’s all over.
So what does that have to do with travel or moving house?
I know that when I am undergoing a significant change in my life I hit that transition stage. Any goal you want to achieve will involve transformation. In a sense you have to birth a new expanded version of yourself. I believe that’s often why we don’t achieve our goals. It’s nothing to do with time, money or effort, instead it’s because we freak out at the moment of transition, when we begin to lose sight of the old version of ourselves.
You can’t send a baby back but you can decide not to go on an adventure or move. Understanding the nature of transition can help us to be more compassionate to ourselves and also others.