I’m feeling strangely emotional writing this post. You see, a few days ago I arranged to have a new chest of drawers delivered as my daughter’s needed replacing. This is basic stuff, right? Normal life. Except for me. And maybe for you? I’ve bought new pieces of furniture before. I’ve added to my stash. But my home has never outlived a single piece before. Just let that sink in a minute. I have never replaced an item due to wear and tear and just… time. I’m a Third Culture Kid, growing up with high mobility in childhood, and I’ve always moved on before my furniture did.
Sure, I’ve gotten rid of pieces… because I was moving. But here I stayed. And we outgrew it. To have all of my life in upheaval due to mobility – sure, that’s a thing. The emotional upheaval that accompanies it is understandable. But the sheer effort and inconvenience of moving one item on to furniture heaven? That’s unknown to me. And the accompanying realisation that this, alongside many others, is a sign of my staying… uncomfortable.
What uncomfortable unknowns are you experiencing? That friend that you suddenly realise you’ve known for years longer than your average friendship. That piece of clothing that reminds you of ‘there’ and it’s finally worn out. Watching the seasons roll around, and catching yourself thinking, “Next year…”
Catch these discomforts… hold on to them but loosely. Let them breathe and just notice them. Honour them by giving them your attention, and at times, your tears. These are signs of your Staying, of your Continuity, of Hope that there are new ways of doing things out there to be discovered. These are the little big things.
Yesterday I decided to welcome a cat into our home. Millions of people decide this all the time. But this decision meant a lot to me. We’d never had pets growing up; pets tied you to Place, and we needed to be able to drift. It also meant making a decision when I couldn’t guarantee a positive outcome. I couldn’t know how we’d all get on, if the cat would feel at home with us or how my daughter would respond. I couldn’t guarantee the future. When Third Culture Kids grow up with uncertainty, one reaction to this is to minimize it as much as possible in adulthood. Choosing to home a cat is another little big thing.
How do you manage change? Do you accept it as inevitable and surrender all decision making to the wind? Or do you look for opportunities to manage it and control for all possible outcomes?
I decided to do it differently this time. I did some research but decided to accept I wasn’t going to be able to control all variables or outcomes, and instead welcomed yet another commitment to time and place into my life. In amongst all the various identities I have carried, I now have a couple new ones:
I am someone who outgrows furniture through wear and tear rather than a house move!
I am someone who has chosen to home a cat, because I am willing to be tied to Place.
I am a Third Culture Kid. Owning my story, telling my story, and writing my own next chapters. Join me? Contact me here if you would be interested in working together on your next chapters.