I ran into a friend’s mother the other day. I’ve known this woman and her daughter for more than thirty years. A side benefit of living within fifty miles of where I grew up. “We are going to The Grill Room for Thanksgiving,” she responded after I queried about her plans for the upcoming holiday. “My daughter used to do it but ever since her father died she hasn’t been able to. You know how close they were…”
Her remark was disconcerting. It got me wondering how many of our transition stalls are really barriers we impose on ourselves for one reason or another? Please don’t misinterpret my remarks. I know how devastating the loss of a loved one can be. We said good-bye to my dad seven years ago. What I wouldn’t give to share a laugh with him today, Thanksgiving, at my house.
Here is what I’m struggling to reconcile. Is this women rewriting her story or impeding its evolution? It’s impossible to tell from my vantage point. What do you think?
Authors like Roosevelt and Morrow Lindbergh have remarked about the folly of deferring our progression through transition. Roosevelt in It’s Up to the Women said, “drifting along is too easy to do.” (It’s up to the Women, pg 9) Morrow Lindbergh in A Gift From the Sea noted, “not knowing how to feed the spirit we try to muffle its demands in distractions.” (Gift pg 52).
When I think of my typical week it is almost impossible to distinguish the glorified distractions amidst the swirl of activity. Maybe a pivot is required. Deborah Kolb, author of Her Place at the Table, featured last Thanksgiving in Novofemina’s Her Place at the Table and Thanksgiving Treats noted “what will be considered an unqualified success?” (Her Place at the Table, pg 93) Was any part of this past week dedicated to an activity that deserves such a strategic, enabling moniker for you?
I’ve finally settled on a definition for transition after writing for 1.5 years. Drum roll please…. Transition is the need to ‘re-define our notion of self.’ My belief is that it happens often throughout the arc of a woman’s life for many reasons….sometimes for multiple reasons.
Today we’ll host a myriad of family and friends for dinner. Last night I seriously considered changing the menu for the first time in more than twenty years. It came as I dropped multiple whole sticks of butter into a pan. The 1986 recipes seem out of synch somehow.
At this man’s wake I said to my friend’s brother that his dad set an incredible standard for each of us. He had a generous spirit, an ever-present smile and a willingness to help others that knew no boundaries. Unqualified success?
Thank you for walking with me through this transition journey. You have encouraged me to set a standard this is beyond myself. Every day I am energized by it. Happy Thanksgiving.
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