Sunday, March 24, 2013

balance through change

This should have been posted Feb 23: I was just too busy to get to it!
Also a warning: while I do come around to knitting in the end, this is more personal than usual.

You've heard all that good stuff: change is constant, life is change, the more things change the more they stay the same, etc. But no matter how much we are supposed to embrace it, change is rattling!

I am facing a big change. It's a change I chose, it's a change I have looked forward to, it's a change I am to be envied for. So why, for the past week while I've been packing up everything I own, have I felt grief-stricken and profoundly disturbed?

I probably need to re-learn and re-confirm some lessons I learned long ago.

lesson one
 Many years ago, something wonderful happened to my son: he won what seemed at the time a major piano competition, and he was only 12. We were so very excited for him,  . . . but it had a terrible outcome for us! He was much younger than the other competitors, but we were encouraged to allow him to stay in a university residence with the others . . .  and where we were told there would be adult supervision. But there was none--other than the lovely, teenaged, female competitors who kindly took him under their wing (which he adored). 

So this kid came home telling us that we couldn't tell him what to do anymore! He had designated himself an adult overnight (after all, he had lived like one for 4 days), and we plunged headlong and without warning into . . . unpleasantness.

The lesson from that experience was that no matter how good something seems, there's always a down side to it. 

lesson two
 And the obvious corollary would be that no matter how bad something seems, there's a lesson to be learned that will make sense of it.

lesson three
 And if nothing is ever wholly good or wholly bad, then nothing should be able to shake our foundations too terribly much.

This last lesson was sorely tested 4 years later when a much bigger change assaulted me and my 16-yr-old son and 14-yr-old daughter: my husband and their father died. Staying balanced through that was very hard but necessary. (After all, I had two teenagers at home!). 

lesson four
 From it I learned another lesson for survival-through-change. Find out what you believe in, and keep a steady grip on that.

No matter what storm is going on around us, we need to find what gives us meaning and hang on for dear life. I did that after my husband died, I did that after the heartbreak of my professional life (when my relationship with XRX ended), and I've done that through subsequent difficulties.

and now . . .
 So now a lovely change looms: I am leaving my condo to move into a house I have bought with my daughter and her (builder) husband. In 4 days I will move into their part of the house while they build an apartment for me; when it's done, I'll move into it; then after their part of the house is renovated they'll move in. We should all be enjoying the yard and pool by mid-summer.

So what's to mourn? In the end, it'll be wonderful! But it all came a little too early. (I guess that's the other thing about change: we can't always pick its timing?) I am not ready to leave my space and neighbourhood, so I am feeling a little sad as I pack.

lesson five
 Maybe there's the final lesson: it's okay to grieve. Despite all the comfort we can find from those other lessons, it's still okay to feel sad. If we swallow what ails us, doesn't that make us sick? And if I don't acknowledge my sadness, then I won't go looking for these lessons I've learned that help me get through it!

This whole thing is reminding me of mistakes in knitting.

    Acknowledge the mistake.
    Feel sad for a bit.
    Learn the skill needed to fix it.
    Fix it . . . and create something wonderful!
    Start a new project!


  1. Thank you for your reflection on change. I recently moved, also, and find that I am experiencing some grief, even though the change was one that I chose. Your insight is helpful to me.

  2. Interesting that even tho' it is a good change, we still grieve.
    I was a WRECK after my daughter's wedding, and I love everything about her husband and her life!
    Thanks for writing! It is wonderful to know that this might have been helpful.

  3. And, since the post should have been a month old, hopefully, you are on to the 'positive' part of the change now :-) Pam

    1. Oh yes, it's all good now!
      Thanks for asking.

  4. Just in the last week did those VERY things!
    Acknowledge the mistake (s).
    Feel sad for a bit. (about a week, angry, not sad!)
    Learn the skill needed to fix it. (finally "got it")
    Fix it . . . and create something wonderful! (I am, the over-the-knee socks from- LOVE knitting them now.)
    Start a new project!

  5. You know, when life goes on WITHOUT these challenges and changes, we don't actually learn as much.
    Good to hear your excitement!

  6. I always think of moving into a new place as the New Project. Redecorating the new place is like picking out the pattern, the yarn, the best part the color - what fun!!! Enjoy your new place called home! Jennifer

    1. I think of a new place as a new project too! And I think there's a post here about RENOVATION--with photos of the house and a shawl.

      At the moment it's all dust and framing with no bath and no way to clean. I've had to leave town for 2 weeks! Certainly makes one look forward to one's own bed!

  7. Sally,

    I learned to knit from your "Knit" and "Purl" books and I took one of your classes at Vogue Knitting Chicago. So, while I know you as a terrific teacher (one of the best I've ever had, in any subject), I think it is your surprising, philosophical digressions I've come to appreciate so very much. Now that I think about it, maybe they're not so much digressions, as connections of knitting to the other important things in life. Thank you for sharing.

  8. Wow, that is SUCH a lovely note.
    I am so pleased that you also shared!