Babies change (even their eye colour in the first days of their lives). Toddlers change. Children change. Teenagers change. It is part of growth. Of all my five children, my second son is the most boisterous, the most high spirited. It was difficult to control him as he was so exuberant, so fearless. He was always getting into scrapes and getting into trouble. When he was two years old, he successfully managed to escape the high security nursery at Manchester University’s Student Union. Thus, it is unimaginable that he is now a lieutenant in the Royal Navy, living a life of utmost discipline and order.
We continue to grow too as adults, though the growth is not as noticeable. To grow means to change, to shed our old skins and allow new ones to grow.
So many people are afraid to change, clinging on obsessively to old structures and in the process, missing out on the opportunity to go to the good places that life has for us in the road ahead. Especially in our disposable society where nothing is permanent and nothing is meaningful, we are frightened of change when it comes to us, when it comes to our identity.
Our identity is our ego. At the end of the day, our identity/ego is nothing. We have to let go of it because it is not meant to be permanent. But letting go of ourselves is the most scary thing ever. It is called abhinivesah in Sanskrit.
In November 2015, I did not want to let go of my pre-October 2015 self. I was flying high, about to start a new life back home in the UK, about to move into a new house and so many good things ahead. Who would want to opt for being sick, so sick, and losing everything? I had everything:
But I had no choice. I began smiling again in December as I embraced my new self. The December self was sick, ugly, frail but in that time, I found a lot of deep happiness and meaning in my life. I rediscovered my love for running (something I had not done for 2 years) and through that, a connection with myself. It was the start of my transformation, the moment I let go of my pre-October self.
And the moment I embraced my ‘new’ self, life gave me a happier and healthier self! I went on a 5km midnight run yesterday, swam in the dark sea, and I felt so alive! This morning, I ran another 5km before yoga class and dived into the sea straight out of yoga. At sunset, I will go out on my paddle board before coming home to work on my book. I am 48, I feel top of the world. My friends who have not seen me for a few months commented that they could sense the change in me, that I am happier than they have seen me for years.
Imagine if I dared not let go of my ‘self’. I would still be desperately fighting to hang on to an old structure, desperately unhappy and unfulfilled. I would not have been the me of today. I look forward to what the future brings, when the time comes for me to let go of this self that I currently enjoy so much.