It’s difficult to come back to something once you’ve been gone awhile. This truth is a recurring theme in my life. You may know, that I returned to work in September, after not working in a professional capacity for nearly twenty years. How does one adjust to that kind of change? For me it’s been a slow process filled with kind-hearted, generous people who answer a thousand and twenty-seven questions weekly — many of them repeat questions because mid-life brain. Some days it felt big and scary, but most days it seemed new and shiny and fun. After awhile it felt like home, and now, it’s simply part of what I do everyday. But it didn’t happen all at once. As most things do, the process takes its own time. There will be no rushing it. I’m simply trying to enjoy the journey. Who doesn’t love a journey filled with all-the-books?
I imagine this experience is similar almost any time we enter an arena we stepped away from for awhile. Unfortunately, we live in a culture which tells us we should burst onto the latest scene with everything already figured out and trumpet fanfare, announcing to the world that WE HAVE ARRIVED! We want everyone to take notice. Something momentous has happened, and life may never be the same for us again!
But this isn’t the way most change takes place. Perhaps it feels huge in the moment, like the breathtaking moment when you first hold your newborn in your arms, the moment when you realize the audacious foolishness of thinking you could ever be responsible for another actual, real person’s becoming. The moment you realize you will never be the same. But in that moment, you have not arrived. Oh no, this is only the beginning of a long and sometimes painful, but mostly surprising and incredible process of arriving.
The actual journey of change stretches out of the months and years of time, unfolding day by day and moment by moment. Some days you want to give up and walk away and some days you never want to end, but in between are thousands of days that are just…days, much like the one that came before and those which will follow. We didn’t arrive as parents the moment a wrinkly pink and incredulous human was laid into our arms. We merely began there.
We are still arriving. We are always beginning to arrive somewhere. At least, I am. Perhaps I’m slower than everyone else – that’s certainly what my inner critic frequently tells me.
But this feelstrue: the point of doing something is not about the arrival, but about arriving, in the present progressive tense – always happening, never completed. Arriving is the million steps we take across the pages of our lives and the places we direct those steps as we go.
So here we are, another page, another place, a coming back to a thing I love. A place to think, and discuss and share. It’s the sharing I love most. For someone who lives quite happily inside her head for weeks at time, it’s only when I’m sharing that I really come alive inside. I’ve missed that spark, of thought against thought. Yours, mine, ours. The give and take of ideas and experience. In my head I’m always right, but in the world I have so much still to learn.
Starting over, coming back, keeps me humble. It reminds me that all of us need generous, kind hearted people who take the time to welcome us and show us around a bit, who don’t tire of answering questions and take the time to ask their own in an effort to know each other better.
No, it isn’t always easy to re-enter the arena when we’ve sat out for awhile, but it’s not the things that are easy that make us grow. Insert the fan fare here. I’m beginning to arrive again. And I’ve got a million questions.