I’ve had a theme unfolding this past week, in the form of a common thread that ran through my thoughts, higher awareness, conversations and memes. The theme centers around a new life, and what the cost of one is.
How Much Does It Cost?
As this year winds down, I’ve had opportunity to take four of my five grandchildren shopping for their birthdays. Number five is in December. This annual tradition allows me to spend one on one time with each child. We have a meal together and then I hand over a specific amount of money, as a birthday gift.
The kids then decide whether they want to save the cash for a bigger purchase, or spend it at a favorite store. The money belongs to them, once I give it, and the choice is theirs on what they do with it.
As the children age, I notice a shift in their response to having cash. When they are very young, they quickly spend the birthday money on the latest hobby or passion. As they grow older, they begin to make more calculated decisions about how they will spend their gift cash. Older still, and I hear them ask about cost. And a bit beyond that, they weigh the cost of the item against the perceived joy or pleasure they will receive. At some point the question, “How much does it cost?” refers to much more than just the price of the desired object.
I notice these changes in my grandchildren with a mixture of fascination, understanding and sadness. They grow up so fast.
The Cost of a New Life
I had a Yaya/Grandchild birthday shopping trip last night. And I watched and listened as my granddaughter asked about cost and muttered several times, “It’s not worth it” as she put an item back on the shelf. She ultimately made wise purchases, spending about half of what I gave her and saving the rest. This was the first time, at age ten, that she didn’t spend all of her money.
Thinking about the cost of many things this morning, including the price paid for growing up, I noticed the above meme on Instagram.
“Your new life will cost you your old life.”
Those words resonated with me and aligned with my recent reflections.
What does a new life, a fresh way of living, a ‘do over’ cost? What do I exchange, pay or give, to obtain it?
The price, the sacrifice, the cost…is the old life.
The Cost of Becoming a Butterfly
I immediately thought of the transformation of caterpillar to butterfly. The two are so different in physical appearance that one could think they were different species. The chubby squishy caterpillar with all the legs and the voracious appetite becomes the graceful, beautiful butterfly that flutters into the air on delicate wings.
The cost of becoming a butterfly, is the caterpillar. One ceases to exists as the other emerges. The caterpillar offers its energy and the willingness to change. The butterfly releases the cocoon of the past and doesn’t look back.
My external form has not transformed as radically, however I’ve transformed several times during my life. Most recently, I desired to change my health, and embrace a new lifestyle. The cost of that change? My old way of eating, my former relationship with food, and my beliefs about what causes disorders and disease.
Like my grandchildren on their birthday shopping excursions, I weighed the cost of that new life against the perceived returns and made choices that supported my decisions.
Was the cost, and the price I paid, worth it?
Oh yes! Like the butterfly emerging from its cocoon, I slipped off old habits and left them behind. And like the butterfly, there was struggle involved to break through the layers and layers I had spun around myself. The struggle for the butterfly and for me makes the experience real, and creates the strength to fly, to live, as a new creature.
There are many times during a lifetime that require such sacrifices. Starting afresh, becoming new, making another life all require paying the price with the old life…the old way of thinking, believing, speaking and acting. If the cost wasn’t so high, if I didn’t pay such a drastic price, it would be too easy to slide back into the old way of being.
And if I return to old behaviors, and limiting lifestyles, I know…I did not pay with the old life. I gave less than all.
Change isn’t easy. Transformation is scary. The process feels like death, and in many ways it is.
“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.”
It is not over. Beyond change….is new life.