This summer I took about a week off the grid to return home to Memphis, Tennessee. As a recent college graduate, it was a bit strange to return home outside of the scheduled “breaks” I grew so accustomed to as a student. Having to call out of work, reschedule meetings, and contemplate the repercussions of decreasing my cyber-availability for a week became rather daunting. My younger sister jokingly dubbed me “a freshman in life.” Yet all jokes aside, I realize that my sister made quite a point. I am beginning a completely new endeavor as a graduate living, working, and defining myself as a professional in New York City. This insight really hit me during my visit home, when my mother successfully sold the house we lived in for almost nine years.
While only five days on the market seems like a blessing these days, I couldn’t help but feel like I was losing a vital part of my life too soon. This instant attack of nostalgia came as a bit of a surprise to me. Though I no longer live in Memphis, I have always considered it my home. Over the course of several phone conversations, I came to fully support the sale of the house, as my mother and soon-to-be stepfather built a new home of their own. But being there, in the bedroom I’d slept in since I was twelve years old, I wondered if I regretted agreeing to part with this milestone in my life. Was I losing my home? Can Memphis even be considered my home after three years of living in Manhattan?
Further reflection revealed that the house was just that – a milestone, not a defining factor of my life or home. My explorations of the cycles of beginning, middle, and end in my practice show me now that this moment is simply the end of one cycle and the beginning of another. Feeling frazzled and uncertain since graduation, I’d missed the transition out of the end of this cycle; recognizing its end caught me off-guard. The bittersweet nostalgia has given way to a newfound excitement at the start of the next cycle of my life, which includes this new personal definition of home. While it is important to acknowledge and honor these milestones in our life and practice (think back to your first time on the mat or in an inversion!), it can be even more important to embrace the newest cycle’s emergence. So whether you’re entering college like my little sister, beginning a new marriage like my mother, or tackling the vague and intimidating role of a “freshman in life,” don’t let looking back on an end distract you from noting your accomplishments and diving into your new beginning.
- Frankie Fernandes
photo credit: Frankie Fernandes