As I do at the end of every calendar year, I leafed through my 2020 calendar to transfer recurring events and anniversaries into the new year’s edition. In doing so, I was struck by the number of references that were so intensely important one year ago that were less relevant a year later.
In many instances, the advent of the coronavirus was the culprit. “Meet Ellen for annual New Year’s Day lunch” obviously was not relocated to 1/1/2021. But there were several events and relationships that had changed in significance. And I wondered why something or someone that was so special and notable to me last year, didn’t fit in my life today.
In ways, minor and major, I am the cause of the shift. It is me who has changed; introspection and transition to matriarch prompting me to learn a progression of life-lessons. I have grown in my ability to accept and abide by ‘what is’ rather than ‘what was’ – the attitudes learned in girlhood that I force-fit into my adult life, no longer postponing the truthful examination of who I have become.
Sadness, even grief, frequently accompanied the process, but now I can regard the concerns of the past as what they are, over and done. Not to say that to discard equates to disregard: I retain fondness for the part they once played in my life, but I know it’s time to make room for new experiences compatible with the person I am now.
Many of my clients talk to me about shifts in feelings that leave behind friends, jobs and even loved ones. Often, self-reproach and anxiety accompany the transformation. Thankfully, the guilt feelings are relieved when we realize – an exhilarating insight – that life is a forward path, not a treadmill.
Endings and changes in relationships are not easy, but often, they are necessary. We find ourselves with certain people – loved ones, family members, friends – when we need to be with them, experiencing and sharing life’s lessons. When the lessons have been learned, we move on, to new places, new people and new teachings to be mastered.