“How big a deal could this be? It wasn’t like I was moving out of the state or country.” This was some of my self talk as I was in the process of making a decision to move my counseling office. The move was a small one… relocating in the same building, literally right around the corner. But… the decision making process felt earth shattering.
If I was struggling with anxiety, stress and overwhelm in deciding to move my office to a larger, brighter space in the same building, what would those large life decisions of retirement, divorce or job change be like? This caused me to step back, breathe, and dig into thinking about our process of transition and what it touches in all of us.
Even the smallest move presents us with challenges of making decisions and adapting to something new. It is uncomfortable to leave what we know, even if we don’t like our status quo.
So this month I invite you to join me on the emotional journey of my recent move as I connect it to the life transitions of retirement, divorce, job change… and so much more. You may find that you connect your own process of change within these steps,
1. The Decision – Should I or Shouldn’t I?
Decision making may feel like the hardest part of a transition, but it is just the starting point. There were many times that I felt trapped in my head, replaying over and over again the pros and cons, going back and forth between “Should I… or Shouldn’t I?”
When we think of changes such as retirement, divorce or career transition, these questions center on challenging how we define ourselves. Who am I without my job identity? How do I see myself as single rather than being part of a couple? Who do I need to be in a new career and workplace?
2. Risk versus Security
Choosing something new is taking a risk and venturing beyond our comfort zone. There are no guarentees how it will work out. The security of holding onto a work identity in retirement closes the door on our giving new experiences and activities a try.
In uncoupling, the risk is learning how to live on one’s own without being dependent on a spouse. It is giving up that safety, real or imagined, that your partner is there and this makes things easier to deal with. Will I really like my new job and the work atmosphere? Will it last? We can only take a guess on how things will turn out based on our research and common sense, but we cannot predict our future.
3. Physical and Emotional Needs
How often have you concentrated primarily on the economics of a big decision while shortchanging your physical and emotional needs? The question of when to retire can fall squarely into basing our decision only on finances. If you are suffering from job burn-out in the form of physical and emotional stress, will you weigh your well-being on an equal footing with the financial or just dismiss it?
Some of the same considerations come up in thinking about a divorce and also in the realm of career transition. Waiting things out until you can assure yourself on the financial side can have you putting your physical and emotional well-being at risk.
4. Letting Go of the Familiar
In the first few days of being in my new office, I would find myself looking for something that I expected to be in the same place it was in my previous space. I even locked myself out 3 times on that first day! This was definitely a time of acclimating to my new surroundings, but I had to let go of my old expectations first.
Time management for a new retiree can take much getting used to. You may feel disoriented and at a loss of how to plan your time without the structure of a work schedule to guide you. You may feel stuck in trying to choose or figure out what you want to do.
In a new career, the old patterns change. The process of divorce includes the letting go of familiar people, places and things that are not in your life anymore. Over time, as we release those familiar patterns, places and things, we create the space to let in new ways of thinking, doing and being.
5. Choosers Remorse – Did I Make the Right Decision?
This is another place where our thoughts can run ’round in our heads in a relentless loop of questioning our choice. It is a time for slowing down and reaching inside and being aware of how it feels and where we carry these feelings.
Yes,of course, it feels unfamiliar, maybe scary too… But, it can also feel freeing, energizing, lighter, exciting and filled with possibilities that you didn’t have before. It is a new beginning that needs nurturing and support to grow.
6. The Lesson Learned
We all have the potential to grow through change. It is a hard challenge that asks a lot of us, but we can come through knowing much more about who we are and what is most meaningful to us. Retirement, divorce, career change and yes, even a small move can bring light and growth into our lives.
Yes, I am now happily moved into my new office within The Simsbury Chiropractic and Wellness Center at 540 Hopmeadow Street. I am grateful for the encouragement, help and support of all who helped me on my journey.
Just the other day my office sign went up on the door and I truly felt home and right where I was meant to be! You can find home in your journeys as well. I am happy to help you on your travels.