Whether we seek it or not, change is inevitable. Even the who person clings tightly to place, property and people can find that random chance and the choices of others lead to radical upheavals. I’ve had this both ways, sometimes seeking colossal changes, and at others, having them forced upon me by circumstance. Even if we don’t have much choice about what happens to us, we always have options about how to handle what we get.
Moving home a number of times now, I realise how deeply and quickly life becomes entwined with people, properties, and objects. We build lifestyles around the things we own, the roof over our head, the location and the other people in it. A sudden uprooting from that is as traumatic for humans as it is for plants. That which is rooted in the soil does not take kindly to being lifted and transplanted, often roots are damaged and a moved plant can be set back for some time. People are not so different, even when the transplanting is needed and makes for a better life.
Unlike plants, we have the option of slowly lifting our roots, finding out where they had got to, what they were intertwined with, and gently separating out. We can find new, likely looking places to sink those same roots and maybe grow a few new ones. Perhaps some can stay in place even as we move on.
We expect to move only by choice, with time to pack and prepare, to save what is loved, let go of what was not needed and gently segue into the next phase. We might think we’re good at moving on, if we’ve only ever done that in a controlled manner at a time of our choosing. For women and children who flee abuse, it can be a case of taking your chance and running, with nothing more than the clothes on your back. Leaving is the most dangerous time; statistically you are most likely to be killed or injured when you try to get out. I’ve heard stories from so many women over the years, who left suddenly with almost nothing, because that was their best shot at getting to leave alive.
A lost job, a failing of health, a hike in interest rates, sudden bereavement, a landlord who goes bankrupt and has to sell the property… there are so many things life can throw at us that suddenly result in loss of home and security. I’ve seen so many friends knocked about by this one, too. The guys who moved out to give their family stability during divorce, suddenly renting in unfamiliar places, living in caravans and on boats to keep their children secure in the family home. The stories of people whose partners ran up debts and did not pay bills, and did not say until the bailiffs were at the door. The partners who gambled secretly, the partners who lied and the devastation that has left in the lives of people who had no idea what was coming to them. Failing mental health is another. Security is so often an illusion. We think we’ve got it because we’re too smart, too good, too careful to fall, but any of us can fall, at any time.
When you can pick your life apart gently to remake it somewhere else, be glad of that. It is a blessing, and a luxury. We’re too quick to assume carelessness and incompetence in the people we see flailing and failing, but so often it isn’t sought. The person left picking up the pieces is frequently not the one who made the mess. The person pushed out to the edges may in fact have done all the right things, for the right reasons. Sacrifices made for children, for elderly parents in need of care, come at a high price and aren’t easily spotted if you don’t know the whole story. If you can, be gentle with yourself, and be gentle with those around you whose stories you do not know.