Kathy Donchak

Sunday Letter: Composing a Life

Published 4 months ago • 1 min read

Composing a life has a metaphorical relation to many different arts, including architecture and dance and cooking. In the visual arts, a variety of disparate elements may be arranged to form a simultaneous whole, just as we combine our simultaneous commitments. In the temporal arts, like music, a sequential diversity may be brought into harmony over time. In still other arts, such as homemaking or gardening, choreography or administration, complexity is woven in both space and time. When the choices and rhythms of life change, as they have in our time, the study of life becomes an increasing preoccupation.
~ Mary Catherine Bateson, Composing a Life

The home we will leave this week ceased to be ours when I removed our personal mementos and created a space where others could see themselves living a new chapter of their lives here. This stage of saying farewell to the past is one of the few times in life you can actually see transitions.

Most transitions are silent and subtle. They create conflicts as we choose the elements of our life composition to be move forward.

You read something, consider it, meet someone new, and begin a creative editing process.

You look more critically at possessions, friendships, values, and the life you composed reflected in the place you called home.

We do this throughout our life, from our childhood bedrooms, dorm rooms, and first apartments. The presence or absence of the things we bring forward, in material and in spirit, becomes the canvas of this life season.

As I pass on the keys, I realize a home’s essence surpasses its physical form, living in shared memories and transformative moments. Letting go isn’t just relinquishing ownership, but an invitation for others to inscribe their stories while continuing our ongoing narrative of who we are and aspire to be.

Be well,


Kathy Donchak


I am a wife, mom, and nature lover living in the Pacific Northwest. My writing represents the intersection of my interests in nature, creativity, parenting, and human development.

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