change is simple, it’s waiting for the montage that kills us

May 30, 2017

If you’ve been following along on the ‘grams you’ll know that Bodhi has well and truly arrived.

The decision to add a pup to our little family was something we have been mulling over for A Long Time. Because neither of us has ever had a dog before, our house is not that big and there is the non-trivial issue of the existing furs. As well, I have a pretty well-established routine and I was apprehensive at what all that puppy energy might do to my work day.

But a few months ago I just felt ready. Because: what if it was amazing? What if we wait forever? What if we are just postponing a shit-tonne of joy?

We spent five hours driving to Cornwall one weekend and had a conversation about all the pros and cons, what mattered to both of us, and generally trying to predict an unknowable outcome as best we could.

This possibly sounds very cautious and dull! But we have found that spending time on big decisions and being really intentional, allowing each other the right of veto, means both of us feels listened to, and there is no resentment or manipulative weirdness. It works for us.

In that one car journey, we made the decision to change our family.

And this is what I know about change – it usually happens super fast.

It’s reading the word ‘sorry’ in the redundancy letter, glimpsing the plus sign on the stick you’ve just peed on, deciding to start your own business. It’s saying I quit, it’s over, let’s do it! Change can also be a quiet and personal promise to yourself: I am no longer going to drown my feelings in excellent pinot noir.

There is a momentary shift where you are no longer the person you were seconds before.

Sometimes we get a new name: wife, mother, widow. But often there is no ceremony, no ritual, no witness – we just know we are different.

I often work with clients who say they dread and avoid change, but I am convinced this is not true.

Change is arguably the easy bit.

It’s the transition that gets us.

Transition involves all the internal rearranging we go through, to come to terms with the newness.

At best it can be disorienting and destabilising. At worst, it can feel like being pecked to death by ducks.

It’s days of being either ignored or lovingly assaulted by a new puppy. It’s months spent creating the new website for your new business only to find no one is clicking. It’s years of learning how to experience the full spectrum of your feelings while sober.

Even fun changes like getting a puppy, come with this period of transition. We are learning how to be good ‘pawrents’ (I know), Bodhi is learning commands that will help him to be confident, happy and safe, and Badger and Rex are learning how to share.

There is a reason why this is the part in the movie covered by a montage.

Transition is often long, dull and repetitive with lots of setbacks. It’s a disorienting place, ripe with self-doubt.

Of course we want to minimise the murky uncertainty of it!

But it’s easy to forget that it is who we become during the transition that enables us to inhabit the new.

I am trying to just be with it all, and not wait for the montage.

Are you going through a transition? Whats the biggest challenge of this for you?


Leave a reply

8 Responses to “change is simple, it’s waiting for the montage that kills us”

  1. Claire says:

    I was so relieved when I decided to make a big change towards the end of last year. Pure relief followed by pure happiness. It was bliss for a couple of months.

    Then the grief for what had been lost hit. Oh my God the grief! I didn’t see it coming at all. Back on meds and back to therapy but it was still the right decision. This bit of the journey was unexpected but it will be ok.

    • Sas says:

      Oh yes that happens, doesn’t it? The grief can be so unexpected especially when it’s absolutely the right choice. And it sounds like you are taking such good care of yourself – it will be ok. You’ve got this <3

  2. Marianne says:

    My husband and I are transitioning into retirement. We have bought our retirement home in a rural community that I have always loved. Leaving the big city. Have begun the process of downsizing. We have 2 years which seems too short and too long at the same time.I just want to be there already at and in the next stage. But need to be in the transition place for now. Thank you for your thoughtful insights!

    • Sas says:

      What a fabulous project to be embarking on together!
      Two years sounds like the perfect amount of time to be making these shifts. I wish you all the luck 🙂

  3. Susan says:

    I’ve been giving a lot of thought to that whole “transitions ritual” thing lately & I’m wondering if it doesn’t contain a lot of answers for many of us. My interest started many years ago when I read an article about how “western” society’s lack of rituals for kids (male & female)moving from childhood to adulthood was creating a generation (numerous generations by now) of disaffected kids with no clear sense of who they are or where they fit in the world. That led me to think about creating small rituals in my own life to mark transitional events — I’m not very good at it but at least I think about it 🙂 It really hit home for me when I retired & went from having been employed (for others & then for myself) for over 4 decades to being unemployed/retired/”old”. That was 3 years ago (!!) & I’m still spinning my wheels. I should have created a ritual, I see that now. And it’s not too late, is it? Thank you so much for this article.

    And oh my, what a cute puppy! Enjoy motherhood. It’s been years since I shared my life with a dog — I’m a cat person & the 3 resident furs would NOT appreciate being expected to share home & lap with dog. But I “borrow” my friend’s retriever for strenuous walkies (& lots of slobbery kisses) 2 or 3 times/week. All of the love without the care & feeding!

    • Sas says:

      Susan I loved reading your words – and yes I have found small rituals are incredibly comforting too. Just acknowledging events in this way can shift something in us. And of course it’s not too late! Oh that sounds like a great project – and it’s a full moon this Friday (just in case you needed a nudge 😉

      And thank you for the motherhood words! Bodhi and I are definitely falling in love. He is a lovely (and lively!) addition to our little family 🙂

  4. Jane says:

    I’m going the a transition, and although there’s life waiting on the other side, the death of the old is so tough. X

    • Sas says:

      Yes – the death of the old is often the most traumatic (and under-acknowledged) aspect of a transition.
      It’s bloody hard to let go of what we know, only to enter the uncertain and murky middle. It takes so much courage to do this – I am thinking of you xx