One day, not too long ago, I found myself standing alone at an airport with a suitcase and a backpack. Nothing very unusual about this scenario. Not my first time traveling alone and certainly not the last time. But that time it was a big step for me. It’s probably the biggest step in my life so far.
When I was packing my suitcase and deciding what to take and what to leave behind, I didn’t even know if I would get to see the rest of my personal possessions ever again. When I was walking towards the airport, I was unsure if I would ever see any traces of life I was leaving behind.
How do you decide what to take and what to leave behind? Do you decide based on what you think you might need, or do you take your emotions into account too? How much hope you have of seeing your stuff again is also an important factor to consider.
Whatever the case may be, walking away is never easy. Even when you are extremely sure about the decision and let’s be honest – how often are we extremely sure about any of our decisions? I know how embarrassing my own record of self-doubts is.
And yet, with everything going on, with every self-doubt, I found myself standing at the border of two chapters of life with a suitcase and a backpack and a head full of overwhelming thoughts.
Change is scary.
That day at the airport, I kept looking back and to some extent even now I feel like I keep looking back.
I have been told that it’s okay to miss, that it’s only natural and human to miss. After all, we get so comfortable in any situation that any change feels scary and overwhelming. And I have had a bad past record of resisting change – even the minor ones.
One thing I keep reminding myself is that – Every chapter in life has good moments and bad moments even when we cannot see them at the time. Some things get clearer in the hindside only.
This is important to remember especially when we are in the midst of enjoying a good chapter. Cos let’s admit that bad chapters make us more aware of everything and we see things more clearly. It’s the rose-color glasses that distort our vision and perception.
Since 2005, I have changed my address every couple of years. The longest stint being four years. Every time my address changes, something shifts inside me, too. I’m not saying it’s all bad because I have learned important lessons at every stage. But still, sometimes I wish my address didn’t change so often.
I want to live like a tree with my roots settled deep down and growing. Don’t worry, I know that change is a part of life and we need to accept it as gracefully as we can. I mean what other choice do we have anyway? but still it’s important to be graceful instead of bitter when we can.
Writing this makes me feel like I am advocating eating healthy food while craving chocolate cake. I know that change is part of life and I understand that I need to accept and embrace change and be all mature about it. But still, I grieve everything I have had to leave behind.
What I need right now is permission to grieve.
I have heard and read so much about Fresh Start that it has become nauseating. No matter how well-meaning it is, every piece of advice reiterates the same concept – Embrace the change and get out of your comfort zone.
While I smile and nod politely, I want to scream that it’s called comfort zone for a reason. Have you seen pictures of people lying on a bed of nails? Well, if that doesn’t show that even a bed of nails can become a comfort zone then I don’t know what else will.
The thing is, people always assume that the comfort zone is pain-free, but in reality, the comfort zone is just familiar. And we all need that familiarity in our lives. Something to keep us rooted.
Life is scary enough as it is.
Sometimes, I feel there is a part of me that wants to go back. But there is also a part of me that made me pack a suitcase and a backpack and took me on a journey to the unknown. That part keeps me moving forward while the other still keeps looking back like I was looking back at the airport.
A fresh start is never so fresh. We carry emotional baggage even when we leave behind our physical baggage. Wherever we are, our emotional baggage is there with us.
The concept of Fresh Start has been romanticized so much. But this only works when we leave behind the emotional baggage. But we don’t do that, do we?
No matter where we are or what we are doing, we never leave behind the emotional baggage. We carry it boldly and sometimes a bit too proudly not realizing how damaging and tiring it can be.
That day it took me no more than an hour to go through my personal possessions and make decisions about what to take and what to leave behind. Don’t assume that I am completely detached from my personal possessions. I am not that enlightened. After all, I am writing an entire post only about that so you can see how it still haunts me.
I still miss the little things with barely any monetary value but with a lot of emotional attachment. There are days when I wish to get them back and days when I promise myself to move on and not think about it. And we know very well how promises are never kept.
So, what’s the plan now?
The plan is to embrace the fleeting nature of life. To accept the impermanence of everything. Easier said than done, but still, that’s the plan for now.
Learning how to not accumulate physical possessions so that I am ready with my suitcase and a backpack whenever the next change comes knocking at my doors again. Cos let’s be real, we all know that change is coming and there is nothing we can do to stop it. Better be prepared.