Some time back I observed that when I moved to my current location, which took place in the midst of returning to the U.S. after living ten years overseas, and while going through a divorce. So, add it up, major relocation, new job, and a divorce.
Anyhow, about the chairs. During this time, I noticed that somehow three chairs I had in my possession were significant in some way, and symbolic of what life transitions are about. There was the chair I brought with me, the chair that was left here by previous residents, and there was the new chair I went out and purchased after I got here.
The chair I brought with me was part of my past, a rather modest folding chair that was easy to pack and bring with me when I set out for my new location. I had little else when it came to furniture. This past life included a spouse and children and a way of life that held sway for many years of my adult life. While that life was gone, kids as adults and the spouse becoming an ex-spouse, there were still large parts of that life that defined who I was and that came with me into my new location.
Then there was the chair that was here when I arrived. Abandoned by the previous residents, it was a rather ugly, beat up, green plastic chair apparently used for odd jobs around the house. Since I had so few possessions at that point, this chair was important to furnishing my new place, to making me feel at home. It perhaps represents a tangible connection to my new life in this place. Though it has since been relegated back to the garage whence it came, I recall its role in helping me stabilize my new life with what was here when I arrived. I remember feeling good about finding it, like some local treasure of sorts.
Then there is the new chair, a high-back office chair, which I purchased some months later as I set out to add new things to my life. By new things I mean both the tangibles and intangibles. My old lifestyle was gone and a new one was being experimented with and taken on. This chair was representative of that process.
Today I am not the sum of any particular chair, but a composite of all three. Each has claimed its portion of my life during this particular transition.
In transitions, big and small, we have to work our way through to that new place, that new person that is straining to come out. Like the old chair, we bring our past life with us into the new place. When we arrive, we find there is a life already waiting for us – my green plastic chair. Finally, I set out to take on new aspects of my life as represented by my new chair. It is a good end, but not necessarily a pleasant journey.
About the Author: Master Hobbit