On the Diving Board
“Oh, mirror in the sky
What is love?
Can the child within my heart rise above?
Can I sail through the changin’ ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?
Well, I’ve been afraid of changin’
‘Cause I’ve built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Even children get older
And I’m getting older too”
I’ve been hearing his song a lot lately, it comes on the radio or appears on a playlist as if to pick a scab, poke my my inner doubts. I have always loved “Landslide” by Stevie Nicks and the lyrics are feeling more relevant than ever. Can I handle the seasons of my life? A great question. For a woman approaching sixty, a mother, it’s easy to tie my life’s purpose to my children, wipe tears as they leave the nest, or as an athlete to face inevitable aches or physical limitations. The challenge is to allow life-defining chapters to end, to not be afraid of changing….
My son was graduating from his MBA program this spring and heading out on new adventures. During a recent drive, I said, “This is an exciting time, but don’t forget, transitions can be unsettling.” Who was I fooling? He was no longer a little kid whose teacher needed to give me practical advice on how to guide children from one school to the next. Maybe he needed the reminder that change can bring up fear, but in all honesty, I was speaking those words to myself.
This time of my life sometimes referred to as “bridge years,” when kids are launched and out of the house, yet we aren’t sitting in rockers knitting sweaters or playing grandma. It’s a shoulder season nobody really prepares you for. There was a time when people retired and lived on golf and bridge at age sixty. What if you feel too young to be old? Is it presumptuous to want more? More time? More meaning?
So much in my life feels like a transition right now, and based on my discussions with peers, I am not alone. Those of us who are fortunate to have our health and bandwidth, there is still a lot we can do, but the fear comes when trying to figure it out. We had a lot of time to think, to work up righteous indignation during the pandemic. Now the question is, will we act on those ideas? Will we seize the learnings from that major life disruption and become new people?
Like Nahshon, who is the first jew to jump into the red sea before it parts and the Egyptians are in hot pursuit, it takes a literal leap of faith to leave behind what could be very comfortable and take on a new challenge.
I’m here to say to others who also feel nagging self-doubt, I am on the diving board.
Please join me.