It's funny how those things that will transform your life the most are perhaps the most difficult to picture beforehand.
As a single person in love with the man I would eventually marry, I often asked myself how marriage would really change anything. I don't know if it was the actual tying of the knot, but ten years later, things certainly feel different than the life of singles in love. The absolute certainty that your husband has your back and will be there to experience life with you is the aspect of marriage I never would have been able to picture in my mind beforehand and yet now it is something one might say I even take for granted.
I remember when my husband came home from work and asked me if I wanted to move to Shanghai and starting a brand new life. Life was so different in Shanghai. Every assumption I carried, which I did not even realize was a basic assumption rather than a universal truth, was questioned, uprooted and often changed. After weeks of constant assumption challenges, I was able to sum it up by a single experience walking around the office endlessly looking for a three-hole punch device. Finally I asked the admin where the hole punch was and she effortlessly picked up a very small TWO-hole punch sitting right in front of me. For the rest of the day I repeated to myself, "Of COURSE it's a two-hole punch. Why would it possibly be the same way we do it in the west?"for two years. Always game for an adventure, I quickly replied "Yes, I think so..." without any clue what I was getting myself into. Little did I know, within a few months we would be packing up and renting our house, boarding a plane with a small fraction of our belongings, moving into an apartment on the 35th floor overlooking the in
Having a child is obviously another life changing transition. Before your child is born, along with their own or their wife's labor story, everyone tells you how they were unprepared for how much they immediately fell in love with their child. I, once again, underestimated this aspect of the transition and was completely blown away by how in love I was with our child from the minute she was born. Her tiny features, baby noises, newborn smell, rooting reflex, I had never seen anything more perfect in my entire life. While I knew it would be life changing, I had no idea how emotionally tied I would become to such a tiny being. The level of responsibility a baby creates in new parents was an aspect I had not fully considered as well. A stuffy nose in tiny nasal packages suddenly had the power to create worry in myself I had never known.
One common aspect of transitions is an element of fear going into them. Since it is difficult to accurately picture yourself on the other side of precipice, the leap may seem daunting and filled with doubt about if it is really the right move. Luckily, a common result of transitions is they all leave you changed in such a way that you have grown as a person.
From my marriage, I now know unconditional love and security. From our stints living abroad, my values, assumptions, beliefs and expectations have been challenged and my mind opened. From the birth of my two beautiful girls, my capacity to love has been significantly increased and I have grown an ability to completely take care of and be responsible for another human being.
Whenever someone I know is struggling with a transition, my response is always to GO FOR IT! There is no better way to grow as a person and welcome some new awesome part of yourself.