Change has all the feels.
It’s easy to think that change you facilitate yourself will feel better than unexpected change that is handed to you. “Better” is a relative word and in this case, misplaced. I have a close friend who is beyond brave in her measures to build a life she loves. Instead of being stuck in a career she has outgrown, she is busting out and starting an import business. She recently entrusted her two small children to her loving hubby, said peace out, hopped a plane, flew halfway around the world to Thailand to start her new adventure, business, and new life. Um, ok...and holy shit. I guess you are a go big or go home kinda girl. As her days of her soon to be past life are winding down, she’s feeling conflicting emotions and a sense of sadness and loss as well as excitement, fear, and more excitement.
Her mixed emotions in her journey reminds me of saying goodbye to my single lady house. When Steve and I combined families, we both had houses. We sold our single people homes and built a home to accommodate all of the lives that would become our family. The project was massive in many ways. When the day finally came for us to move into our new home, it felt...weird. I was still in grad school at the time and was to meet Steve at the new house late after class. I still remember driving up to our beautiful new home. My sweet, sweet hubby was waiting for me on the porch with a drink in his hand. He greeted me with a whiskey for him, and a gingerale for me (I was knocked up at the time). I greeted him with….tears. Poor bastard. I cried at him-not tears of happiness-but a big ‘ol ugly cry. Really ugly. The more I tried to stop, the worse it got until I was a slippery, wet, snotty mess.
My single lady home represented me-at least who I was. Who I was at that stage of my life was someone I was really, really proud of. I was able to create a really solid life as a single woman. I had a home, a career, a business as a side hustle, a great couch, and a Labradoodle. What else does a girl need? It represented my independence, my strength, and my fight. And now, it was gone. It was time to start the next chapter-one that included more lives, deep love, and uncharted territory. I was excited and sad all at once. Just because my future was bright-didn’t mean I wasn’t going to miss the girl I was before-and she deserved recognition for all the hard work and sacrifice that got her to this moment. Letting her go was hard.
I imagine my good friend is feeling similar in the letting go portion of her journey. While she is driving towards one of the most exciting journeys of her life, it’s hard not to peek in the rear view. Just like any rear view, that picture will get smaller with time and what’s in front of you will get your full attention.
Walk hard, Jess. The bitches and I are cheering for you-every step of the way.
Three ways to manage conflicting feelings of change:
Don’t deny yourself the feelings of loss, sadness, and conflict. Even if the change you are experiencing is something expected, planned, and exciting, the reality is you still have to let something go. An essential grieving process may accompany what you are leaving behind. Honor the process and the things you are letting go in a manner that acknowledges the place they once held in your life.
You can simultaneously build your future and honor your past. Be reflective, but-drive forward. Even if it’s scary, sad, or conflicting-it can still be right. While it’s important to reflect, don’t let it get in the way of your progress. You have capacity for both. Grab that bitch by the horns and ride it.
The person you were prepared you for the person you are about to be. Instead of completely focusing on letting things go, reflect on pieces you are taking with you. It may make you feel like you aren’t losing as much. The reality is you wouldn’t be prepared to go down a new road if you hadn’t been down all the ones before. Where you were will take you where you are going- and so on and so forth in this crazy journey we call life.