A few weeks ago, I shared my story of new beginnings and the power of human compassion (read it here http://goo.gl/U6yVIu). I want to give a shout-out to everybody who is currently in transition, looking for their grounding, for the right shoes to fit, for making peace with their past and letting it fuel the future. Recently I had to help pack up the house I grew up in. Our family decided to sell the home after my father passed away a few months ago. It was a very tough decision for all, but we felt like it’s the right one. Our home – the one we had grown up and matured in - didn’t’ feel like home without our dad, so it was time for us to move on.
I went back through the house teary-eyed one more time to say goodbye. Goodbye to a place that I felt I was always able to return to no matter what; a place I always felt safe in; a place where I grew from a child to a woman. As I approached my old room, something dawned on me. It was no longer green - my favorite colour, and the one I had insisted my dad and mom paint with, when I first moved into that room. It also had the tiniest window and closet in the entire house. Growing up, my friends had big rooms with wide, sun-soaking windows and I remember being frustrated that I didn’t have enough space and would constantly complain. My parents reminded me to be thankful that I even had a home, let alone a room! They would say, “If you want a bigger window or closet, set goals and work towards those big windows and closets.” It forced me to think big, to not let my physical space define my dreams or ambitions.
I decided to look at this moment not as the one filled with sadness of letting go, but instead of one welcoming a new beginning. The family that was moving into this house was new to Canada after immigrating from Sri Lanka. This was their first family home – just as it was for my family when we moved in. The same story, repeating after 25 years.
I quickly realized I wasn’t leaving anything behind, but instead I was taking a gift of memories with me. Memories of laughter, the sun beaming through the windows in the morning, learning to play the piano, my dad working on his cars in the garage, the smell of my mom’s fragrant cooking, my brother playing hockey in the basement, all the happier times we shared in this home together.
Experiences in life shape us, but they do not define us. We are the ones that decide what to take with us, and what to leave in the past for good. Sometimes we grow out of our closets, and sometimes we grow into them. And sometimes we realize that the right kind of “little” is just enough.