Every transition brings with it a from and a to - more specifically, a stage or experience that our lives move away from and another that our lives move to.
Transitions have been constant in my life these past three months. I graduated from graduate school and applied for entrance back to the professional world. I have gone from having one adopted child (my cat) to becoming the proud mother of a cat and abandoned dog. My old-as-dirt, hand-me-down car from my younger sister has slowly and ungracefully fallen apart, so I have transitioned from driving a 1996 manual-transmission Honda Civic to finding money in my budget for a vehicle that actually works.
A special shout-out to my dad for spending his days transitioning to retirement taking care of virtually all my car shopping needs next to putting my signature on the legal documents.
I have not quite transitioned to being an enthusiast of cars or mechanics yet.
One of my major transitions of late has been from not having chocolate available daily to having chocolate available daily. Or, in other words, transitioning from living in Rwanda back to the States.
This has been, as many say, a “transition time” in my life.
The ironic part about transition is that while the journey of change takes us to a new stage in life, it also forces us to revisit old places within ourselves.
Transition almost always takes us back to our roots.
This dual journey – the one split between our roots and a new road - has been one of life’s most valuable discoveries for me. We hear philosophies like “when one door closes, another one opens” and “with every ending comes a new beginning.” But, these new “beginnings”, I have learned, typically don’t start without a trip back home.
In times of transition, I find myself thinking harder about where I came from, who I am, and what parts of me have room to shift into something better down the new road.
The past few months have helped me recover pieces of myself I forgot existed. I am rediscovering hobbies I lost time for during graduate school. I remember the value of grabbing a drink with girlfriends after a long day at the office. I rid my brain of stress caused by continuous deadlines and required school readings and focused back on the joys of wandering aimlessly through cities while documenting my journey through words and photos.
I have hesitantly sifted through the discomfort of learning how I – caught somewhere between living without chocolate and rescuing abandoned dogs – fit between two stages of life.
The world looks different than it did only months ago. But, the world looked different then than it did a few months before that. It seems brighter, livelier and, while confusing at times, ready for me to take it on.
Of course, the world hasn’t changed that quickly in reality. It is me who has changed. I have grown and, with that, the world – to me – has grown too.
I have seen an influx of ladybugs lately. At first, I thought they had arrived with the transition from winter to spring. But, now I wonder if the ladybugs have come to observe the blossoming buds on my limbs.
Ladybugs have always been a symbol of hope and reassurance for me. No matter their reason for surrounding me in abundance now, they remind me that this new road is the right one.
And so, the ladybugs and I flutter together through the springtime air to my next stage of life.