Friday, May 23, 2008

Change to Becoming

There is something very nostalgic and sobering about change and endings. Our good friend Naomi is graduating from the Juilliard School of Dance, and we had the pleasure of attending her Senior Showcase performance on Monday night**. I was mesmerized by these talented young people knowing that many of them will probably go on to dance and do great things. I knew Naomi was sad about seeing the last four years come to an end when her class disperses to carve their own paths of success. I could sense the excitement, joy, enthusiasm and sadness as each student did their last performance as an undergrad at Juilliard and as a class. It was beautiful to watch. It reminded me of some of the more poignant endings in my own life.

Like the last day of high school when I walked down the halls thinking to myself that this would be the last time I would go to this classroom and possibly see this teacher. It would be the last time I used my locker or parked in "my spot" or mingled in the parking lot after school.

Or like when I moved from my house in Provo where I lived with my best friends thinking that this would be the last time I would sleep in my room with my friend Stephanie or the last time I would water the front lawn or walk through the archways that reminded me so much of Christmas and having decorations. As I walked through the house a flood of memories overcame me not just from the past year that we had lived there but from the previous years in our other apartment... the parties, the dinners, the late nights, the laughter. I thought about how much I had learned and grown and what adventures lay ahead. Somehow as I walked through the house trying to memorize every bit and piece, I knew that the minute I drove away from there everything changed. And it did.

Or like the days leading up to my wedding as I thought about my apartment on 104, my roommates and all that had taken place in the 2 years that I had lived there. So much had already changed by then, but I thought about how it would be the last time I could call that place home, the last time I would have to try to find a way to organize the cupboard for the 500th time, the last time I would call the roof my respite, the last time I would have female roommates. It was a feeling of nostalgia mixed with excitement and gratitude as the promise of something better lay before me as it has so many times in the past.

There are often moments like these when we wonder how we will handle the change and the separation from our old life. But then we discover that we are extremely adaptable beings and somehow we manage to embrace the new as we still cradle the old in our memory. There are many "last times" in life, but there are also just as many if not more "first times". Both have significance and both can be bittersweet.

But change does not necessarily signify an end. Life is always changing. People are always coming in and out of our lives, friends move, babies are born, loved ones pass on, jobs come and go, there are good days and bad days, the seasons come without fail, but the sun always rises in the morning and the moon showers us with kisses every night. People are always telling Cameron and I that we need to go out to the movies and do this or that before the baby comes because life as we know it will be over and we won't be able to do all the things we are used to doing. Well, we don't really go to the movies that often as it is, so I don't think that is an issue and maybe this carefree, leave it all whenever you want life we are accustomed to is about to change, but it doesn't mean that it is over. There is a choice to be made about how we approach the apparent ending of a "life as we know it" or a "phase" in life. We can choose to fight it or embrace it. If we embrace it, then we become malleable and malleability equals happiness.

As I have looked back on the "endings" in my life, I have noticed the beginnings sort of trump the endings so much that I can't hardly remember them. They are a blur as they should be. I think I lamented them before they actually ended much more than I did after the fact and what good does that do. I am much more interested in living my life rather than lamenting it. And so I do not care about what will change when our son is born. Today it does not matter. And when he joins our family, the change will be welcome and it will seem natural and we will embrace it because this is how we grow. This is how we get closer to being who we really are. This is the process of becoming.

****As I watched Naomi and her classmates dance it was like watching someone's most intimate emotions played out through movement. Perhaps that is what makes it so fascinating and beautiful. We don't often share what we are thinking or feeling especially in times of heightened emotion such as in the crescendo of a poignant ending, but many of us find a way to share it through some other means whether it be through music, writing, dance, etc.

1 comment:

naomi megan said...

That was really beautiful, Nikki. I think you are a beautiful writer. And Josh and I are really grateful for yours and Camerons friendship. Thanks again for coming to the show... So glad you guys could make it and enjoyed it.