Have you ever felt yourself change? Like really and truly felt the transition?
This past month marked the beginning of my last term of naturopathic medical school. And I still can't believe it. When I first came to this school, I had no concept of what was waiting for me on the other side of this 4-year journey. Or more accurately: I barely acknowledged that there really was anything after this. I was in school, and that was it. Yes, we would talk about it. But for me to really understand what my life would look like after school? It was incomprehensible.
How do you truly experience a transition? How do you feel all that it comes with? I've been asking myself this question for awhile. Especially after being fully immersed in "student life".
I've watched many classes go through this program ahead of me. I've seen them transition from student to clinician and finally to doctor. Watched them weave their way through all the obstacles. From my comfortable position, those obstacles were hard to conceptualize. It always made me shake in my boots to think about it, but I could go about my merry way knowing I didn't have to face them yet. I could reassure myself by thinking I had lots of time before I got there. And now here I am. In their place. Weaving just like them.
When you visualize yourself in your future, you often see yourself in comparison to what you have seen others do. In some ways, it is the only way to create some sort of an accurate picture of what might be coming. And perhaps it is a picture of what you aspire to be. Watching from afar, I saw a lot of grace. I saw subtle changes in confidence. I saw people stand taller, speak louder and slowly spread their wings. As I transitioned from student to clinician, I expected to see the same in myself. To automatically be graceful. To automatically be confident. To automatically be perfect. What I didn't remember was that watching from a distance vs. being in it... well...there is no comparison.
When I'm in the moment, I feel chaotic. I feel confused. I feel unsure. I feel unsteady. But then I look back. I look back at the person I was when I first came here. When medicine was a foreign language. When the only herb I knew was turmeric. When taking blood pressure was the only skill I could handle (barely). And then I look at myself now. And it takes my breath away. Sometimes I feel like I am standing in front of my first-year self, showing her who she will become. And I can literally feel her admiration. And her hope. And that fuels me.
Yes, I am going through what all those ahead of me went through. But we each have our own stories. And to the classes behind me, it might just look exactly like what it did to me when I was in their place. Maybe they see some grace amidst the chaos. From far away (really far away).
Transitions are the moments between known and unknown. It's a time when you leave behind the familiar and face the unfamiliar. A space where you can be proud of everything that you have accomplished, yet are terrified by what may lie ahead. It's dusk. It's dawn. Yesterday. Today. When a thought becomes a thing. When a can't becomes a can. Transitions can be one of the hardest times of life. The times when you will struggle the most. But they can also be the most inspiring spaces to be in.
I guess what I'm saying is: In order to really feel a transition, it might take a little reflection. Yes, being present is also a huge part of it. But it's also about going back and meeting the person you once were. And telling them that they will make it. Watch yourself do things that your old self would have been in awe of. Take a second to admire yourself. It's always about honouring who you are with an appreciation of who you were. Feel the light that your past self is shining on you. It's always there. And it always will be.