There are those few moments in life so huge that by passing through them, you become someone different. You become a new version of you. And no matter what you told yourself before the event, it wouldn’t matter. You’d probably still charge ahead and do it.
Graduation. Marriage. Childbirth. Book deal. Buying a house. Moving. So one day you’re a college student, a single person, a struggling writer, a renter—and then suddenly you’re a graduate, a wife, a mother, a published author, or a homeowner. You’re essentially the same before and after the event, but you’re also different. You know important information now, and you have experience. You discover that marriage is no fairy tale, but hopefully many days of fun and companionship mixed with some wrangling over who is going to clean all those dirty dishes. A book deal is no happily ever after either: it’s the start of lots more hard work, and questions about when the next one is coming out.
I’ve always been a planner. I do my research, and I try to prepare. I probably read every book on childrearing I could find, but none of them were much help when I had to deal with a colicky baby on no sleep, or a two-year-old who threw a temper tantrum every time he left the playground. He’ll grow out of it, the experts said. And they were right. But in the midst of a crisis, I’m not very good at listening.
Right now I’m in the middle of moving. It’s one of the most stressful things we do in life. I am currently looking around at all our worldly possessions wondering who collected all this junk. Do I really want it? What’s the point in moving it? And I’m dreaming about our new home—the colors we’ll paint it, the flowers we’ll plant, and where everything will go.
But in the end, moving is just a hurdle I have to get over to get to that next step, that new self that knows a lot more about efficient packing and homeownership. No book or sage words of advice will spare me the experience. I just have to do it myself.
Happy Birthday America! Hope everyone has a great July 4th.