“All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.” (Anatole France)
Today I received some news that completely knocked me for six, to the extent where I sat on the couch unable to do anything for a few minutes while my brain tried to process what I’d heard and its implications. It is (without sounding too much of a drama queen) news that will change certain things in my life irrevocably.
I’m not very good at dealing with change. I like things to be different, definitely, as I’d get very bored if everything was always the same (hence four jobs in the last five years), but sometimes – especially when situations alter that I have no control over – I’m not the best at coping with it.
And a lot is changing at the moment. In my own life, I’ll soon be married. Whilst it’s not going to cause any dramatic differences in our day to day activities – we’ll still be living in the same place, we’ll still have the same jobs, only my name on the bank account is going to be different – being married will mark a shift, subtle maybe, but a shift nonetheless. Being married feels like the start of a new chapter, and a time to assess what we’re doing with our lives, and whether we want to change anything.
As we creep further towards our thirties and beyond, my friends and I are arriving at the stage where we’re making big life decisions; getting married, moving away, having children, all of which cause an impact on each other. And I’ll be honest, I’m not very good at dealing with the emotions that these bring. Each time something else changes, things have to be readjusted; whether it’s to the fact that someone won’t be in the same city anymore, or the same country, or that they now have a baby to consider.
I have a bad habit of looking back and thinking “was that as good as it could have been?” My holiday in Thailand this year is an example of this. It was most likely the last chance the three of us will ever have to do something like that; jobs, partners and children will make it much harder in the future. With this in mind, I worry that I didn’t take full advantage of it. Should I have done this, or that, whilst there? Did I make it the best it could have been?
I guess what I want is for things to be as they were at university; in terms of all my friends close by, easily able to get together without three months’ advance diary co-ordination. I hate the fact that my close friends are scattered not just over the country, but the globe. Two of my bridesmaids live in Australia and Germany, meaning I can’t just call them up and suggest a pint down the pub, or a catch up over coffee and cake. These are two of my most favourite people in the world and they’re so far apart from me, it hurts.
Sometimes I want to freeze time and keep everything and everyone all together in the same place, as we are right now.
But I can’t; we’re growing up, and we’re moving on. The girl who I shared pints and late night comedy at the Fringe with is now a mum to a little boy with another on the way. My best friend from school and university lives 16,000km away and is happily settling down with a man I’ve not been able to meet yet. In eight weeks I’ll have a new name and a new husband.
So things can’t stay the same; however, they can still be as good. That’s what I need to get my head around. I have so many happy memories, and there will be more. I just need to remember that yes, things are always going to change, but that’s part of the adventure; who knows what amazing things are around the next corner?