“As wave is driven by wave
And each, pursued, pursues the wave ahead,
So time flies on and follows, flies, and follows,
Always, forever and new. What was before
Is left behind; what never was is now;
And every passing moment is renewed.”
Maybe it’s because I’m an Autumn baby, whose own children (one of whom is named Autumn, no less) were born in the season that is on our doorstep. Maybe it’s just the cycle that began on that first dizzying day of pre-school. For whatever reason, the end of summer has always for me held in it the endless possibilities of new beginnings. Every new stage of my entire life – new class, new school, new state, new country, new job, new wife and the aforementioned new babies – has come to me in the dozen or so weeks after Labor Day. Our dojo opened nine years ago this month.
Earlier in my life I didn’t occur to me that there was a dichotomy at work here, these wonderful beginnings happening at the same time that leaves and plants were wilting, leaves falling and wildlife hunkering down for a long sleep. At this time in my life, though, I’m a lot more conscious that this time of fresh starts and new possibilities coincides with a time of endings.
The last few years have brought a new rite of Fall: that of seeing off some amazing young people that I’ve been teaching for years, as they head off to college and other endeavors. It’s a bit tough, and I try not to think about my own kids leaving the nest in the not-too-distant future.
But that’s the price we pay for new beginnings and all the great things that come with them; we have to also let some things come to an end. That’s why change – even when we know its good change – can be so darn terrifying. It requires us not just to embrace the new, but also to let go of the old. I miss my kids being small enough to bounce on my lap without crushing me. But if that’s the price I pay for seeing the beautiful young adults they are becoming, so be it.
Here’s hoping that this season of change is a good one for you, whether the changes on your doorstep are in your career, your family situation or in your habits. It’s often the ones that require the most letting go that reap the biggest rewards.