Graduation Goggles

Of all the many phases in life, the TRANSITION phase is perhaps the most uncomfortable. Maybe you’ve worked hard for a new job, or finally severed an unhealthy relationship, or finally found a new apartment.  While you were in the old job, relationship, or apartment, you dreamt of other people and places.  How pretty it all looked in your mind at the time!  A job you love with a great new boss; prince charming sweeping you off your feet; a cheap but spacious apartment with a fireplace and a porch and a room all to yourself.  Then one day, it happened.  You got that job, said good bye to your relationship, found the perfect apartment, and…and….all of a sudden you don’t want to go!  Some five-year-old inside is whining, “But whyyyy do I have to go?? It wasn’t so bad here.”  Robin on How I Met Your Mother calls it “graduation goggles.”  For four years of high school, she explains, you may be bullied for having braces or acne, been kicked around and picked on by your teachers—any variation of miserable, really.  But as graduation nears, suddenly you don’t hate the math teacher, or the smelly kid who never showers, or the football jocks and cheerleaders.  Suddenly you feel like you’re leaving something behind, when in fact you’re leaving nothing behind.  And it’s all because the idea of what lies ahead is far more terrifying than the misery you’re leaving.  (Season 6, Episode 20, “The Exploding Meatball Sub,” if you’re interested.) Sound familiar?  Ok, maybe that was just Robin, but still, the point stands. Much to your surprise, it takes all the courage you have to step forward.  You’ve finally freed yourself of the heavy goop that held you, sinking and paralyzed, in an unhealthy place, only to find that the looseness of freedom is just as paralyzing.  The unknown future becomes a black hole of nothingness that you desperately fill with fears.  Soon you’ve packed it so tight that you’re facing a wall instead of the burgeoning field of opportunity you once envisioned.  Heck, even the transition from home to work, work to home, home to gym can be a challenge!  Still, after your one or two (ok maybe several) moments of hesitation, you realize you must move forward. You worked hard enough to get to this transition…might as well see it through!  Begrudgingly, you shake off the soothing slime of wherever you were and start picking through the fears barring your way, only to find that they were always just a smoke screen between you and progress.  In fact, you’ve never been more free!  Now the fun begins…. After weeks of procrastination, I finally signed the lease to a new apartment—the perfect apartment…fireplace, porch, kitchen and all.  I bought $200 of credit to Boulder Furniture and Mattress for only $75 on Groupon.  I called my parents: “Could you ship me my bedding? Oh and my tapestries…And my paintings!!” I started decorating the walls in my mind: paintings and pictures of my friends, many-colored jewelry hanging from pegs, tapestries draped gracefully overhead like some noble woman’s bedroom.  On the bed, I see new sheets (golden yellow Egyptian cotton) on a brand new pillow-topped queen mattress.  I see me: reading, writing, and meditating in my new space, opening the windows to the mountain air and taking naps in between hours of work.  My friends come over to cook with me in my spacious kitchen and enjoy a beer or two on my porch. Most importantly, I see me coming and going at will, safe in the knowledge that I have a sanctuary waiting for me at home when I need it. Ok, ok…this whole transition thing isn’t so bad.  Maybe it’s even fun… Ok it’s REALLY fun!  I just had to get out of my own way….

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