Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.
– Marie Curie
It’s windy again in Lisbon, and each time that happens something big is about to unfold in my life. I’ve since learned to pay close attention to the gusty winds of change and can’t help but wonder what on earth I am about to get myself into this time but as Marie Curie reminds us all today, there is absolutely nothing to fear about change, even the most drastic ones, as long as we understand why they are happening, or what events have led us to that point.
I’ve always found summers a great time to contemplate and take stock of what we have achieved (or not) the first half of the year. The school calendars are still deeply ingrained in me, first as student and then as parent, when our entire lives and life cycles were built around the September – June time frame, and followed by the summer break to breathe and prepare ourselves for the new year. It’s not about starting over, quite the contrary, it is about moving on to the next stage in your life and embracing the challenges that will be unceremoniously dumped on your plate.
Unlike in the school system, you don’t get to repeat a year or a semester in real life. It is always a one-shot deal that has us all hesitant, eager, fearful and on the edge of our seats each and every time. Numerous have been the times I wished I could have turned back the clock and gone back to a period in my life where things went horribly wrong. If I were Dr. Who with a TARDIS I would have loved to change the outcome of certain events, make wiser (or at least less wrickless) decisions, but then again, would makiing changes in the past still lead me to the exact point in time where I am now? Who knows, and the answer to my own question is probably no. For example, if I had remained in the USA to pursue my journalism studies at MIZZOU, where I had already been accepted but was forced to defer my entrance for a year, I never would have ended up with the family that I had, and my career path would have never included development work. I had plans on joining CNN or the BBC at the time, joining National Geographic or LIFE magazine, maybe even settling in Canada. Instead, different people interfered in my decisions, thereby depriving me of the chance to pursuing my dream. But the universe had a plan in place already, I just didn’t understand it then. Europe was never in my horizon until I landed my first job with a German-funded NGO after college, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Thoughout it all, fear was never a factor, although I do admit to not understanding situations I found myself in half the time. At the end of the day, it is all about how you confront and embrace change, the courage to summon to brave the stormy winds instead of running away and hiding.
The shot of the day was taken last night on my way home. Ordinarily I would have processed it as black and white, but the setting sun provided such beautiful warm light that I thought it would been a shame to lose it. The scene spoke to me, a timely reminder that we are always on the move in an ever-changing emotional and intellectual landscape. Sometimes our trains arrive on time, on other days we end up taking an alternative route and discovering something far more interesting.