These past two weeks have been a transitional period for me. I moved apartments and finally had my first week of flying solo at the new job. My routine was shaken up, my possessions were all over the place, and my time and energy were consumed by revamping my entire lifestyle.
Transitional periods make me anxious. They also make me miss my mom even more. She was a source of stability and reassurance, even when my environment was anything but.
Moving when you’re in your twenties feels a little ridiculous, going from one short term rental to the next, questioning how much furniture you should actually be collecting at this age, since you may just have to up and move it again in another 12 months. It’s difficult to start setting down roots at such an explorational age. It’s an uncomfortable contradiction.
And nothing seems more discomforting than moving. Your whole life gets upheaved, quite literally- and by your own wimpy arms, at that.
I moved out of my apartment this past weekend, and the range of emotions I experienced in that 48 hours had me feeling like… well, a total head case. And that’s when I realized that moving is a microcosm of any transition in life. Change is hard. Change is amazing. Whether that change is learning to go on without someone you love, switching careers, navigating a breakup, the list goes on forever- change pulls us out of our comfort zones and challenges the conceptions we have of ourselves.
The first and most obvious similarity is the thought “Will I get through this?”
Picture it. You just finished hauling 20 armfuls of stuff to your now overflowing sedan, in the mid-summer Southern heat and humidity. You’re already drenched in sweat, sport a couple bruises, and you drag yourself back up the stairs and into your apartment only to realize it doesn’t even look like anything is gone. That’s when it hits you that you’re going to have to run up and down those stairs, carrying heavy shit and wondering how to have a good attitude about it for what feels like an eternity. Well. Ain’t that life.
You can try to put it off, but eventually it’s gotta get done. You don’t have a choice.
On Friday night, I was stressed from an afternoon of moving- so I decided to go get margaritas. Solid plan, J. We had a great night and the stress did melt away some, but in the morning I had to deal with the consequences and, wouldn’t you know it, I still had to move?! I’m glad I went out and enjoyed myself. Change can be avoided for awhile, and sometimes it’s even a relief to put it off for a bit. Sometimes you have to have time to breathe because expecting every moment of your life to be productive and beneficial is unrealistic. Just know that you can’t avoid making necessary changes forever. Eventually, one way or another, the hard work has to happen. Otherwise, you won’t ever go anywhere or do anything.
Nostalgia is inevitable.
Some of those memories and feelings I had in that apartment weren’t so great. Some of them were terrible. I am so excited and relieved to be moving on. But I also reached milestones in that apartment. I adopted a dog. I celebrated a holiday alone with my dad for the first time. This blog was born and raised in that apartment. As I was walking my dog for the last time around the beautiful complex in the early morning sunshine, listening to the birds sing, I realized that I wouldn’t be doing that again. I got so overwhelmed. No matter how much I am happy to be moving on and pretty much stoked to be leaving… I experienced life while living there, and I am grateful for it.
You have to rebuild, restructure, reorganize in your new situation.
I just spent my entire night flitting around my new room from bin, to box, to bag, trying to find new homes for my knickknacks and books and clothing like a psychozphrenic hummingbird. I was nonstop. I was determined to get this room pristinely polished and organized by the end of the night. By 10:36, I had managed to start seeing most of the floor again and had room to close the closet doors. That was about it. While I was putting clothes away in my closet, I realized I had a perfect opportunity to rid my wardrobe of the things I don’t wear anymore and to determine which pieces really appeal to me the most. It was a lot of work and I spent so much time rearranging hangers and moving things back and forth from the bed to the closet. I had spent every moment since I’d gotten home from work trying to right this tornado of crap I’ve got going on, and I had only eaten like, a bag of carrots.
The perfect time to rearrange your life is when you’ve got a chaotic mess. I have a theory that things always get worse before they get better- but that if you do things right, they get better so quickly it almost feels miraculous. For example, I started this day with all my belongings held in containers scattered around my new room. But then I had to pull allll that shit out of the containers. It was so cramped that at a certain point I stepped on a shoe and it hurt so bad that I lost my balance and hit my head on the closet. See? It got worse! But then…. after about 5 hours of worse, I suddenly realized that if I could just clear a couple of boxes I had unpacked, everything looked like it was falling into place. A couple more of those “aha” moments, and my room was practically habitable again. See? It got better! (I really do think this is a foolproof philosophy about life.)
You’re not going to do it all in one night.
Or in one week, or one month, or one year even. In fact, it will never be done. We are constantly reevaluating and changing our situations. Down the road, you might rearrange the furniture or paint the walls or, hell, you might even just move again. Inhabiting your world will never feel consistently comfortable, and navigating life’s changes will never be a constant. Sometimes it seems that just when you’ve started to settle in to one change another takes place.
You will lose things. You will gain others. You will break things. You will buy others.
Even though this process has been difficult, the end result is marvelous. This move has been a game-changer, and I am so thankful to have made the decision to better my situation. Tackling a change with resilience and strength is uncomfortable. It is also SO very worth it.
What challenging transition are you facing right now? I’m willing to bet you’re either in the middle of one or about to start- we never stay still for long! Here’s to change and progress!