How to explain Transformation

Reinoud Slot

How do you explain transformation to someone? I mean plain and simple personal transformation. Not how organisations change into digital ways of doing business. No. First I did this, then I did that. First, I was like this, then like that. I felt like so, then like such about something.

The first time I took my firstborn out for a stroll in the park, he was eight days old. He was warmly tucked under my long overcoat, as it was a fresh April day. I looked him in the eye, felt his warmth and knew, or rather, realised something in my life, in me, had changed and would never be the same again. I would take care of this little one forever. My root perspective shifted from being at the center of my world to feeling responsible for others.

My first paycheck, in my first proper job. I remember looking at it for minutes. It meant not being financially dependent on my parents anymore. I was happy for them, and for me. From now on, I would stand on my own two legs and support myself. Finally, I was a true grown-up.

My father was diagnosed with cancer. We took care of him during his last weeks. I discovered a side of myself I never knew I had. So patient. He suffered from dementia and thought he had to go to the toilet every ten minutes. Sixty times a day, off we went. And back. Days on end.

Until he couldn’t anymore. His last words to me were ‘goodbye, my boy’. I cried. I transformed, in inexplicable and subtle ways. Knowing it ends, knowing my patient nature, knowing the love I felt. And later, the gratitude.

How do you explain transformation? We all transform, continuously. It’s just not so easy to explain. Today, my son turned 18.

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