Monday Author: Susanne Skinner
~ Linda Ellerbee
There is nothing more constant than change. It happens all around us, every single day. We sense it, even when we cannot see or feel it. Living life fully means dealing with changes. Some of them are welcome, some come unbidden. Both are part of the journey.
Our comfort zone makes us resistant when change arrives, especially if it’s uninvited; but if we insulate our feelings and pretend it’s not happening we deny ourselves the opportunity to grow. The world around us continues to move even if we decide to stand still.
Unwelcome change can be hard to accept. The loss of a job or a loved one, relocation, an empty nest or financial downturns are changes most of us face during our lifetime. Some we embrace, others catch us off guard or completely unaware.
At the end of the day, it comes down to how we respond—our behavior is what defines us. The ability to cope with change says a lot about us, and when change comes we have to respond, even if we aren’t ready.
Getting Ready for Change
I am in the middle of a big change. We have sold our too-large home and most of the furniture. The house is strangely empty, and no longer feels like ours. We are planning a move to another state, with a new job for one of us and a remote office for the other.
It’s a major life change that includes a big downsize, a relocation, and upheaval in both our lives. I think I am ready, until I realize I probably am not. I wonder if we are ever really ready for change but I put one foot in front of the other and begin what becomes a new and exciting journey.
I am a person who likes to know what is happening and when. I am a list maker and planner, so mapping out a future seems natural to me. We have always known this time would come, and by embracing and owning the changes, I am more in than out of control. That does not mean it’s easy. Change brought the uncertainty of selling one home and buying another, packing up a life of nearly twenty years and beginning again in a new place.
A friend asked me if I was ready for this change and I did not hesitate when I answered yes. But I am also sad. It is a new beginning, but also an ending, as I say goodbye to my wonderful community of friends, comfortable routines and a sense of belonging. It is a change we have chosen to make, but it’s emotionally hard to leave this life we have built and loved so much.
A New Beginning
Fear lives side by side with change. We naturally fear the unknown; therefore it’s normal to fear change; preferring routine and stability over disruption. In any transition those two assurances are gone, and life as you know it gets interrupted and disrupted.
I believe a good life includes changes and transitions. New beginnings come from transitions in our work and relationships, physical and mental changes to our bodies and minds, and the passing of time.
Kids grow up and pursue lives that fulfill their dreams. They marry, have children and sometimes move away to create their own new beginnings. We are left behind and faced with the same challenge—a new beginning in a new house and community.
One of the reasons we are making this move is to be able to choose our new beginning rather than having it chosen for us. We mindfully explored where we would go when the nest was empty, the winters became too unbearable and we felt the need to live a smaller, simpler life.
Having faced the heartbreaking task of forcing my Dad to move we understand how important it is to prevent our kids from being put in this position. We always said we’d know when we were ready—and we did.
Transition and change are an inevitable part of our lives. Both must be given whatever time is needed to adjust to them. Even though we have orchestrated this change (complete with spreadsheets and inventories) we are facing a few unknowns.
We made the decision to sell one house before buying another. Our house literally sold the day after it was listed—we never had the open house we so carefully cleaned for. Suddenly we were homeless; faced with packing what remained and putting it on a moving truck.
In order to feel good about the arrival of that truck, we had to let go of the comfort that was our home and find a new one. We have been blessed with a wonderful community of friends, faith and support. Knowing what this feels like gives us the foundation for how we chose our next home and neighborhood.
We are making a change, but we are not changing. We are the same people we’ve always been, with a lighter load of material possessions. Just like new kids on the first day of school, we are wondering if anyone will want to play with us.
What Comes Next
To make a space for something new in your life, you must be open to change. It’s true that change is scary (we’re scared!) but opportunity, excitement and hope are also present. We are looking forward to what comes next, even though we aren’t certain what that is.
We will be buying our forever home and starting a new life with just each other. We imagine that life will be different and unfamiliar, but only until we step into it, unpack those boxes and welcome with great anticipation what comes next.