Mike Iamele reflects on our amazing ability to grow and adapt to change in our lives.
Recently, I went to bed as one thing. And I woke up as another. For the second time in a year, I’m an uncle.
While I slept, my sister Jen busted her butt in a 32-hour labor to have my niece Mikayla. She was determined to have a natural birth, and—a day and a half later—she did.
As I sat in bed this morning, staring at the pictures of that rosy-faced cutie, I started to think about just how I became an uncle. Overnight, my role had changed. Overnight, Jen had become a mother. Overnight, my mother had become a grandmother to two.
In what seemed like a rapid transition (to everyone but Jen), our roles had shifted, and we were something new.
It reminded me of a conversation I had with my mom a few years ago. Since her parents (my grandparents) had passed away, she had been depressed around the holidays. She hardly wanted to celebrate, make a big production, buy tons of gifts, or cook up a big meal. So we sat around and laughed and reminisced about just how much of a big deal my bubbie, or grandmother, made about the holidays.
And that’s when it hit me. I turned to my mom and said, “But you are the bubbie now. You are the head of the family. I doubt it was easy for our bubbie to take over the holidays when her parents passed, but she had to do it for the kids and grandkids. And so do you. So they can one day laugh and reminisce about just how much of a big deal you made the holidays. Your role has changed, and you’re in charge.”
Since that day, we’ve had Hanukkahs and Christmases filled with board games, laughs, friends, and good food. It may not be exactly the same as they were when I was growing up; but there’s a new sheriff in town. And her way of doing it is just as amazing.
One of the hardest things to handle in life is a changing role. You identify as one way for so long that it’s hard to let it go and accept the new definition coming your way. You were once a married person, but now you’re single again. Or you were once a wife, and now you’re a mother, too. Or you were once a father, and now you’re childless. There’s such difficulty and pain in that changing role. You have to grow into a new position. You have to make compromises and sacrifices, and give up on the way things used to be.
And it’s okay to feel sad. It’s okay to feel nostalgic. Sometimes you do want to go back to the days when things were a certain way. When we all laughed at my bubbie’s house at Hanukkah. Or when Jen could get up and jet set around the world whenever she pleased. Or when you could still spend time with that loved one before he or she passed.
But life is happening. All around us. It’s still happening; it’s still going on. And the thing about life is it’s always changing. It’s always evolving. In truth, we’re always evolving. And so are our roles.
And, sometimes, the most successful thing you can do is let go of that role you cling onto so tightly so that you can let the world in to you. It doesn’t mean that you’re forgetting about it or leaving anyone or anything in the dust. It just means that you’re choosing to live in the moment—to pick the most successful thing you can do in this moment. Which is to live it fully.
And, when you do that, things aren’t the same. They’re never the same. You won’t have the life you remember. You won’t have the role you know well. But you will have something new—something special.
Maybe new traditions for your family to carry on forever. Maybe special moments with the friends and family who are still here. Maybe adventure and excitement in a new job.
Or, best of all, a beautiful new life to hold in your arms.
And that’s something definitely worth fighting for (even if it takes 32 hours).
So, look at your own life. See where you’re taking on new roles. See where you’re being asked to change or grow or expand. And decide to let yourself become that new thing. Decide to allow yourself to become an entrepreneur or a mother or a grandfather or a new friend or an author or a new wife. Decide to allow yourself to just accept the moment as it comes about. It may not be what you’re used to or comfortable with, but it’s where you are now. And you’ll grow into it.
Just like a new mother. Or father. Or even a proud uncle.
Originally posted at bostonwellnesscoach.com.