THE SPACE BETWEEN TWO THINGS
From The Lightning Notes
I left India in November.
I left the hot desert air and the hot desert food. The clear, open sky above and the chaotic, mashed crowds below. I left the village clothing that vibrated with color and the folk music that ached with soulfulness. And I left a little piece of my heart there. A little piece that had lodged itself in the people and the wildness of the place.
I left it all. And walked onto a big plane and into a bigger sadness. I had another life in America that was calling. It was a good life. But it was not the life I had in India.
I walked off the plane at JFK. New York in November is not hot. It does not vibrate with color. New York in November is a kind of naked, a kind of raw. Trees have no leaves. Yards have no growing grass.
My mother picked me up at the airport. And I was not happy.
“This,” I pointed to the nakedness outside the car window, “is ugly. It’s depressing. I don’t want to be in this.”
My mother nodded. She looked out the window. “This is what transition looks like. And this,” she pointed at me, “is what transition feels like. Be kind to yourself. It’s hard here.”
I think about that when I’m making change: from one country to another, one job to another, one relationship to time alone. Transition is the space between two things – two seasons, two parts of our lives. It can be a naked, raw, unsettling space.
And it’s a space that plants and people need to transform. A space where we begin the hard work of reshaping and rerooting ourselves, taking what we learned from the life behind us and folding it into the life ahead of us.
Because if we focus on not only what we’re leaving, but where we’re going and who we’re becoming, if we’re kind to ourselves in this hard space, transition can lead us further into who we are.
I miss India. That won’t change. But I did. Uncomfortably, but not unkindly, I became a little bit more of me in the space between two things.
Caitie Whelan is the Founder of The Lightning Notes, a short daily post to help us move the world forward. It features great ideas and striking stories to remind us that we matter and improving the world is our matter. Caitie was raised in Maine, educated in Rhode Island, and lives in New York.