Just Getting Through It
Transitions suck. Harsh language? That's what I would say to you if you were standing in front of me. I wouldn’t try to sound like a writer. All correct and carefully chosen words. I would just tell you outright. Transitions suck. I am in one right now. I have been in many others and every one of them has been an uphill slog. Don’t let anyone tell you different.
Don’t get me wrong either. I know how valuable transitions can be, how necessary, how, often, amazing learning is derived from a difficult life change. I can spout all the trendy—“everything happens for the best”--clichés about the power that is sourced from learning to adjust to a new reality: life without your loved partner, for example, life with a damaged limb, life through a divorce or, as in my case, life without my tiny English cottage in St Mawes on the southern coast of Cornwall, where I have spent twenty five summers.
I know all that stuff. I believe it. And I don’t care. I am mourning the sensible decision I have made not go there this summer: the decision to sell my cottage and to no longer spend three months among my English friends in the small harbor village of breath-taking beauty that has been my heart home. If I had followed my original plan for this summer, I would be there now.
Why didn’t I go? As the time to depart grew imminent, the stress of preparing to be away in an isolated part of another country for three months—never mind that it is an eighteen-hour trip--caused me to abort. I knew I could not go. I also knew it would not be any better next year.
So I remain in America with what I know is the right decision and I am grieving: missing the shudder of sails from boats in the harbor, missing the cool, fresh, unpolluted air, the cows pasturing in the National Trust lands which rise steeply on the opposite side of the harbor. Most of all, I am missing my friends. Step-by-step, day-by-day, very gradually, I am adjusting to summer in Connecticut.
Does this process of loss sound familiar to you? I’ll bet it does.
Our lives are riddled with challenging transitions and we suffer. We struggle to make the best of things, urging ourselves on and over time we find new ways of being, new ways of living that may be even better or perhaps not quite as great, but, which have meaning nonetheless.We do that. And under far worse circumstances than saying goodbye to an English cottage and an English village life, however sweet and dearly loved.
A very good friend in St. Mawes—I have known four generations of her family—SKYPED me this afternoon and told me that she is unable to walk past my cottage. She can’t bear to think of my not being there. How lovely! I can hardly bear to think of it myself.
This, too, shall pass.
Written by Cecily Stranahan