My family moved to a new house recently, after staying in our previous home for nearly 13 years. I was having a lot of trouble wrapping my head around this significant change, particularly due to its being plunked right in the midst of many other changes happening simultaneously.
Up until the move, I had been telling myself that the thing to focus on was that no matter where we lived, home would be where we as a family were situated. However, this was more difficult to do than I anticipated when I was faced with the final moments I would spend in the house. I think this would be difficult in any time of my life, but this particular time came with a handful of difficult reminders: The move was prompted by a death that was coupled by another and very unexpected death; I would soon be moving back to UBC into a new role after graduating; a few really important people won’t be at UBC with me; I only have another year of clear plans in place.
I sought comfort and closure with my camera by taking photographs of the empty spaces and surroundings in and around my old home – then I drove away. I’ve got emotions flowing with gusto most moments of my days, and this day was a particularly strong example of this. The weight of the reminders of other life changes was heavy in the back of my mind.
Sentiments constrict my composure sometimes and leave me like an emotional glob, responding to any reminders of my emotions with a flood of them. I tend to experience intense and deep periods of emotion that leave me a little emotionally “dry” when one of these periods passes; it can be tiring to go from so high to so low frequently.
Despite the exhaustion, it is a kind of sickening comfort in spiralling within those low moments – I honour my emotions and those of others, but I recognize for me that I will not be okay if I don’t recognize that I must challenge those lows that debilitate me. I have to reflect on the ways that I can occupy my thoughts without denying myself those feelings. They are and will be with me, but I cannot let life stop whenever they make themselves known.
Too much free time this summer has probably made it more difficult to do this, but when things start up in August, I must make myself accountable to my responsibilities and those I work and spend time with, and I must be accountable to me in order to appreciate all that I have and can work towards. If I value these past experiences so much that weigh so heavily on me, how can I allow myself to sacrifice future experiences because I am longing for familiarity and fond memories? I can’t, because that contradicts my values.
Moving has been a very in-my-face reminder of a multitude of changes, but I have seen how it happened and in a way became normal without my notice – by going through the motions and focusing on what is in front of me and my family, we are finding ways to establish a new familiar or new ways of approaching the unfamiliar. This will need to be how I approach the upcoming changes that will certainly be challenges at time; as things that must be faced head-on and invested fully in in order to be appreciated and transformed into new fond memories.