Just the word makes me anxious, or rather, I should say anxious-excited. May.
I can’t remember May without a major life transition. In May of 2009, I said a tearful airport goodbye as I moved to Honduras. The same situation repeated itself in May of 2010, although with different people and a different country. In May of 2011, I took my first cross-country solo road trip. Although terrified of spending 2,000 miles alone with just an atlas, I found a sense of peace-in-transition accompanied by Country Roads and Wagon Wheel. I arrived in Boston, stored my belongings, and moved to Peru for the summer. In May of 2007, I left my college campus and transitioned into the working world. In May of 2006, I moved to France for the summer. The list goes on and on, but always, there is May 2005, when I transitioned to being fatherless.
Here we are again---nearing the middle of May.
May 2013. The giant pink flowers blossoming across campus signal the period of transition, the beginning of summer. Like each May before it, this May will also be full of goodbyes and life transitions. May 19th will mark the last time I will transition from school to the next step. Even as a child, May required a transition from school to endless summer days. Although at that age---the longer days meant more time for make-believe worlds to unfold between the trees and gardens in my family’s backyard. Perhaps this feeling of a sense of freedom from childhood should be re-kindled, as this summer appears to expand in a timeless manner.
I cherish the space that opens up when we are in transition. With one foot in the life I had been living and one foot in the next life, nostalgia mixes with excitement and hope in a way that makes me feel alive. Moments feel more colorful, last minutes with friends more meaningful, decisions to jump on a plane to who-knows-where more daring, and even, our communities seem more forgiving---allowing us to leave, grow, and love them from a distance. In the past my “in transition” times have included one backpack, adventure, and plane tickets. However, this May is different.
As I take one step out of my current life and community, I am not sure where I will be taking the next step. This May requires a new comfort with a lack of a plan, an attempt at finding comfort in standing still. It is a new type of transition, changing life phases without changing location, quite yet. How do you lean into a transition without physically packing all your belongings? Or knowing what you will be moving next? I hope the endless summer days will allow the space for this period of “in-transition” to settle and for quiet moments to unfold in which some of the bigger questions can be answered.
May 20th is the yearly marker of the passing of my father and the years of healing that have taken place since then. This year will mark eight years since he died, and in some ways, eight years of feeling like I am in-transition. Hopefully this year’s transition, though standing still, will allow for a new, peaceful form of celebration.