Updated: Jun 1, 2020
I've been known to stay Too long Known to stay in the same place Too long Known to stay in the same place that sometimes feels like pain Too long Known to stay in the same place that sometimes feels like pain waiting for it to change Too long I think I'll move
- Cheli Njoku
“We’re in the End game now”. My new favorite quote from my second favorite avenger, Dr. Strange. (Tony Stark is my number 1..) You always get a strange feeling when you’re about to make significant change. It’s almost as though you’re grieving your old ways as you tentatively step into the new unknown with just a little bit of apprehension. Change and Transition is a necessary process to move us through different stages of our life journey. It may be uncomfortable. Unnerving even. We want to cling to the familiar. Even though we’ve outgrown it and it now comes with discomfort. Better the devil you know they say. I call bullshit. Notice I said we move through “different stages” of our life journey. Not the next step - a different stage. Because I believe life is a series of journeys, happening in stages. Each with its own ending. Each one different from the last and forever evolving. Honestly, I think that what makes us so resistant to change is the forecasting. The belief that we know exactly how this journey is going to begin...and end. The forecasting not only sets us up for disappointment, but the inevitable resistance to the journey’s end.
I was very resistant to my daughter’s evolution from girl to woman. To being independent, preparing for college, and making decisions and mistakes. I had so many forecasts of all that could possibly happen - the good, the bad, and the ugly. It put me in a space of constant grieving and speculation. I was so distrustful of the future. Afraid even. I felt so inadequate in regards to facing her adult years and all that comes with it. But we can’t stay in the same space for too long can we? It’s uninspiring. Like a self induced coma. So we reminisce with gratitude. We grieve. We adapt. We adjust. We reinvent. We begin again. I actually did all those things organically as I watched my daughter transition and acknowledged that a new journey is afoot. But one stage I stayed in too long was the grieving stage.
I’m a professional griever. If they were paying me to grieve It’d be disgusting what I’d gross. Where I wish I’d spent more time in was in the adapting and adjusting stage. Ah! There was so much creativity and awareness I missed out on. So, based on my past experience, I decided to (consciously anyway) make an effort to follow these steps as the end of a journey is always afoot. (afoot - I love this word!).
Routine is necessary
My routine is my anchor. From my recent experience, I believe the best time to hold on even more to your routine is during times of change and challenge. When my dad went into the hospital on Christmas Day and was admitted for a week, I got stuck. I went into decision making paralysis. I had insomnia and I cried a lot. Every. Night. Nothing got done and my routine and tasks that I planned to accomplish were impossible for me to put into action. Now that I look back on it, I realize that keeping up with my routines despite my sorrow would have not only kept my brain active but also kept me from having too many idle moments to over analyze and sink further into despair. My routine is my anchor. It will keep me afloat. Now guaranteed I was able to binge watch every single season of five different movie series due to my insomnia, I would not call that an accomplishment. Unless the “raccoon eye” look is what you’re going for.
Manifest: Yes/Forecast: No
I cried for a year in anticipation and dread of my daughter leaving HS and heading to College. I'd forecast EVERY possible scenario - mostly scary ones. I crippled myself with anxiety. I mean that literally. It was hard to make simple decisions. In moments where I should have been flowing I was not only sinking, I was stuck. By the time she was ready to leave I’d gotten my shit together. I was ready to participate in the End Game.
I embraced whatever possibilities and challenges this new journey may bring. I was flowing. I chose to only ask the universe for all the amazing things this new journey could offer us. I manifested. Very slowly but surely I started to let go...and flow.
Now, this is not a once and done deal- “let go and flow” - oh how I wish. I will still catch myself drifting into nostalgia or great expectations; stalling the End Game process. Relationships are the hardest to just allow to manifest, flow, and end. Just like I said in my poem, I’m notorious for staying in the same space too long. Nostalgia keeps me stuck as well as a sprinkle of hope and that "monk like" need to sacrifice. This is when I remind myself that to pray and manifest is an act of asking. Not telling.
What will be, will be.
Nothing fully belongs in my control - not even my life. As I acknowledge that one day that too will end. We're all pulling short straws.
Dostadning (Swedish for “death cleaning”)
Let’s unpack this discovery I stumbled upon last year on my iPhone News app. Anyone who knows me knows I have a hate/hate relationship with the ultimate End Game -
So much so that in the past I would intentionally avoid participating in any action or conversation regarding death - creating a living will, life insurance policies, power of attorneys, legacy creation and distribution etc. I felt as soon I took part in any of those engagements I would drop dead the next day. When my financial adviser would start asking questions about my plans for my children when I died I would get mad and sad at the same time. I. Am. Not. Going. To. Die!!!!! Wishful thinking. Dostadning is the one concept that made me look at death with a different approach. “It was coined by a Swedish grandma who rather bluntly says she sorts through her belongings as an act of love so that her family isn’t left with piles of junk to go through when she dies. It’s less extreme than the kind of minimalism I’d read about before — this is definitely not about owning only one set of cutlery and sleeping on the floor, but rather getting rid of anything you don’t love or use.” - Catherine Edwards | NBC NEWS I became inspired by that approach. If there’s one priceless thing I could leave behind for my children after I die it’s peace of my mind. Peace of mind that I handled my affairs well and continuously until the end. They can then grieve and celebrate at their own pace without any unforeseen matter I left behind looming over their heads and stressing them out. I started this act with my bedroom and it felt like falling down a rabbit hole.
“Begin at the beginning," the King said, very gravely, "and go on till you come to the end: then stop. - Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
And so I did. I started with “Pulling Weeds”. Eliminating unnecessary paper work saved over the years (why do I still have my year 2000 W2 and the girls elementary school report cards???) and filing the ones I leave laying around appropriately.
I went from an ugly metal file cabinet to three aesthetically appealing accordion folders. One for me and each of my girls. Thank you Target.
I felt so light after this exercise I had to keep going. It took a month to address every crevice of my room and reassign and renovate. My room is now the place I walk into and hear saints singing. It’s that peaceful and clutter free. And I maintain it to maintain that feeling. Getting rid of anything you don’t love or use can apply to people too. I have subjected myself to the company of people that do nothing for my well being simply due to default- they’re family, or their a friend of a friend...Bullocks. I’ve started practicing dostadning there too.
Hey,The End Game isn’t pleasant, but it is necessary. Now I haven’t actually read a book on dostadning but I did start the book One Year To An Organized Life in combination with My Next 90 Days Planner by Savor to facilitate my dostadning approach. The process has been very enlightening so far. I’m on Week Four of the One Year To An Organized Life which involves kitchen de-cluttering. Me and my daughter had a laugh on this yesterday when I ran into some old recipes in the pantry that I saved from when they were little. One was called “the top fun treats for kids”...I was such a determined mom...lol! Determined to give my girls joy...even in treats.
Welp, they’re 18 and 16 now so into the trash the "kid recipes" go.
Comparison is the Thief of Joy My fave mantra of all time. Our journey does not have to be similar for it to be considered valuable or worthwhile. For example- someone married for thirty years with children is not necessarily more fortunate than someone who stayed married for three years. The latter would be me by the way. Three years and two beautiful girls born exactly two years apart later, I called it quits. It’s been 16 years and I never went back. I won’t go into details of why I got divorced, just know it was necessary. Yes I was doubtful about my decision as I compared myself to other marriages. Maybe I can suck it up until my first born is 18 for her and her sisters sake. You came from a two parent household Cheli; so did your husband.
Don’t be a disrupter I told myself.
In the end I had to accept this journey was mine and it would never be like anyone else’s -not my neighbors, not my friends, not my siblings...not whom ever. This stage in my journey was coming to an end and I had to show up for it the way I wanted to. Not the way someone else would want me to. For all my forecasting, fears, and mistakes along the way of single parenting I still know I made the better decision. I’m so thankful for my twenty something year old self for being brave enough to be OK with being herself.
“It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then”. - Lewis Carroll
Yes, I was a different person then. So why dread the End Game? I’ll embrace it in all its chaos, wisdom, grief and growth.
I'm not trying to deceive you into excitement here but the End Game can be an adventure. I learned to ride a bike without training wheels when I was seventeen. I also graduated college at 19, so I’m not completely daft.
I was laughed at and fell several times while learning to ride at the advanced age of seventeen. Falling into a ditch once I when I forgot to use my brakes was epic. But the celebration that came when I finally nailed that 360 degree turn without falling was even more epic. My life journey is built on a series of beginnings and endings. Some epic, some not so much.
What I’ve learned is to recognize when the End Game to a series is on the horizon and not resist it or let others hold me back. So cheers to taking off the training wheels! Cheers to moving from colored pencils to markers! Cheers to swapping nostalgia for manifestation! Cheers to acknowledging part of the journey is the end.