Whether you’ve recently moved across the world, into a new home, graduated, or simply started a new job - you know how hard transitions can be, especially when you loved wherever you were beforehand. I have had a lot of experience with this as I grew up moving from place to place, never having lived anywhere for longer than 4 years at a time, and I’ve been the “new girl” more than most have had to be. Yet, no matter how many life transitions I go through, I still have many of the same ups and downs. I often cry at some point, yet simultaneously feel grateful for the new opportunities God has given to me. Having said this, here are some of the reasons transformations like these can really truly suck and some reasons why they are completely worth it (in no particular order). To begin, here are the sucky parts:
1. Feeling Unsettled – It’s never fun to feel like you don’t have a complete grasp of what you’re doing, where you are, who is around you. At the beginning of a transition we often feel we don’t have a set schedule and are left to figure things out step by step all over again. This also makes time go by so slowly where, at least speaking for myself, I constantly feel like there is something for me to do but I just don’t know what exactly that is yet.
2. Questioning Everything – You’re forced to leave your comfort zone in several ways making you lose self-confidence in many or any decisions. I myself question everything from what I am supposed to wear, to what my hair looks like, and the worst: what I am doing with life in general. LOL it’s really pretty dramatic when I stop to think about it.
3. Missing People – This may be the very worst one. Your mind seems to often be in another place because you want to be with the people who already know you. You feel as though no one can compare to the people you love and others shouldn’t even try when you meet them. Add being far apart from a significant other and this gets 10x harder.
4. Engaging Superficially – Every conversation you have seems to be a superficial one filled with unnecessary small talk. This stems from number 4 because the new people around don’t know enough about you and you don’t know enough about them to move beyond it. How many times do I have to say where I’m from or where I went to school or what I did for the summer??
5. Forgetting Things – This may be very unique to me but it seems like when I have moved to a new place and have so much on my mind I can never remember everything I need. Every time I go to the store I come back and notice something else that I’m missing! -____-
These challenges are very real and emotion filled for many new chapters in life, however, in my experience, the overall benefits outweigh these negatives and often erase the cons from your memory altogether. The best thing to do is to think back to another time when you felt unsettled and to remember how things turned out, if you haven’t been pushed to start over in life yet (which is very unlikely) you’re just going to have to trust me. For illustration, the last time I made a big transition was when I started my freshman year in college; I cried the morning of move-in day because I was afraid to start over. I couldn’t choose what to wear, I started to notice my imperfections more and more and questioned myself. Long story short, I graduated last year after 4 of the best years of my life, having formed some of the closest relationships I could have ever imagined, and becoming more of the woman I strive to be. So here are the wonderful ups of taking a chance to try something new whether you are forced or choose to do so:
1. Reimagining Yourself – Life is full of even more possibilities and creativity when you start something new. You can imagine yourself in a different way because everyone you meet knows nothing about you. If, for an easy example, everyone used to know you as someone who was late to everything and you didn’t like it, you can now become the person who is always on time.
2. Questioning Everything – Yes yes I know this was also on the list of negatives, but I think reassessing things and decisions in your life can be a very good thing. You are out of a routine, which means you can start a different one. You can set different goals based on previous experiences and you can perhaps replace some of the bad things in your last chapter with the new and better ones. It is likely the reason you were pushed to change to begin with.
3. Forming More Connections – In looking back on my own life chapters I realize that each year I meet new people who inspire me and change something about the way I think simply by sharing their story. If I am willing to make it through the superficial and make some room in my heart and schedule for new friends, I am able to learn more about myself and about the world.
4. Expanding Your Horizons – This might be trying new foods you’ve never heard of, seeing new sights, learning new facts, or gaining the experience that will take you even further. Starting anew allows you to have more opportunities to grow, succeed, and prosper because you’re more likely to be adaptable, confident, and adventurous. Almost every article that talks about habits of successful people talks about their ability to embrace change. (Here’s just one example from a quick Google search: Forbes Article)
5. Finding Yourself – This is a little different from reimagining yourself because when you go through a big transition in life you are pushed to know what is and is not important to you, who your closest friends are no matter how physically far they may be, and what things make you happy to be you. It’s also important to remember that it’s just as good to find what you don’t like as it is to find what you do. So even if you realize you don’t want to be where you are, you’ve moved closer to self-discovery.
In conclusion, if you’re currently undergoing a big life change or will be going through one soon, remember these things, the goods and the bads. It will be challenging and at times very hard, but take it from a pro – it will definitely be worth it. Because no matter how it may turn out you will learn something new, you will be stronger, and you’ll move closer to finding yourself as a result. So, here’s to new beginnings!