“Shift Happens”

Change

 

 

 

 

Earlier this week I posted a quote about Change. This is because I’ve spent the last few days preparing, once again, for more changes. Actually, it feels like “things” have been changing for the past several years:

  • It began with my graduation from college in 2013. I had a consistent schedule of work, school, and homework for the prior four years and that changed once the degree was in hand.
  • My dad’s health decline over several years, placement in the nursing home, and  eventual death brought many changes as well.
  • Then came my daughter’s graduation and move to Florida, which followed two years after my son and daughter-in-law’s move to the Sunshine State.
  • The decision to leave my old job was the right one; the verdict on whether my decision to move south with the kids remains to be seen. I need to get some clarity regarding where I’m headed.

So, how does one find clarity regarding life choices amidst all this change? Do we find it by doing the same things, in the same places, with the same people? Or, is it more likely that we’ll find it by making some changes? And why is change so hard?

“They must often change, who would be constant in happiness or wisdom.” ~ Confucius


Like it or not, “shift happens,” to borrow the phrase, with a slight twist. It’s always happening and I lost sight of that. Looking back over my life I see time periods that defined who I was: child, adolescent, single adult, married adult, parent, etc. During each of those periods life followed a specific script and set of activities. Those things became familiar, routine, and very comfortable. When we get comfortable, we tend to get stagnant and that’s when change begins to feel scary. 

Coping with life changes discusses six common situations that can create a lot of anxiety. After reading it I discovered that I’ve already experienced four and I’m still standing! It offers suggestions to help calm the fears and help us better understand why we’re feeling the fear in the first place.


I’m also reminded of the framed quote that I kept on my desk at the job I left to create something better for myself. It said:

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” ~ Neale Donald Walsch

Jump for joy


Well, I’ve most definitely stepped out of my comfort zone; the only thing left to do now is enjoy the adventure that living everyday is!

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas…Present

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When you’re born and raised in the Northeastern United States, December usually means snow, ice, and wind, in no particular order. I knew moving to Florida would mean a much warmer Christmas, something I was looking forward to. After complaining for years about the long, cold winters, I would finally be able to leave the house without three layers of clothing, boots, hat, and gloves.

The last couple of winters have been particularly brutal with heavy snowfall and very cold temperatures. I lived in an apartment with no garage and spent quality time digging my car out from under a lot of snow and scraping ice off the windows. It required an extra thirty minutes in the morning and I was cold, tired and wet when I got to work. I dreamed of living far enough south to not have to deal with this issue anymore. I dreamed of Christmas lights strung through palm trees.

So, imagine my surprise (and mild annoyance) when I read the weather forecast for my home state of Pennsylvania predicting temperatures in the 60s for Christmas week. That’s unheard of and I’m thinking to myself, “Sure, I finally make the move to warmer weather and warmer weather makes the move to PA.”

Some folks back home are actually whining about not having a white Christmas and that it feels more like Easter weather. Others I’ve spoken with are quite pleased that Old Man Winter hasn’t found them yet.

I guess this means I’ll have to hold off on sending those postcards I bought: the ones that are split in half with the left half picturing a blizzard and saying “You,” while the right half shows a tropical sunset and says “Me.”

I have to admit though, with Christmas only a week away, I’m feeling a little homesick for home…and snow.

 

 

A New Kind of December

Lying poolside in December and basking in 79 degree sunlight is truly a dream come true. After a lifetime of cold, snowy winters, I decided that I wanted to turn in my sherpa lined boots for flip flops.


Sandman SnowmanAs a kid, I loved sled-riding, building snow forts, and ice skating. The frigid temperatures never bothered me and snow days off from school were the icing on the cake!

Fast forward 30+ years and things have certainly changed. The only winter sports I engage in now involve clearing snow from my car and successfully traversing icy sidewalks and parking lots with the hope of not falling down.

I didn’t believe it would ever happen, until my son and daughter-in-law moved to Florida two years ago. When my daughter joined them this past summer, what had seemed unlikely suddenly became a possibility.

Aside from wanting milder winters and more sunshine, there were other things pushing me to move:

  • I  finally earned a college degree and was eager to find employment that would reward that effort both personally and financially. Good jobs in small towns aren’t plentiful, so I would have to consider moving anyway.
  • I spent the last three years helping mom care for my dad who had dementia. He passed away last March, but my mom has grown increasingly dependent on others, in addition to suffering several falls. As the child living the closest, I would (once again) be the main caretaker. This would force me to remain in my current job, for the foreseeable future, without any chance of personal growth.
  • The relationship with my significant other was comfortable in some ways, but after nine years I needed a commitment for more than a dating relationship. Because he was dealing with issues of his own, I believed our future was limited.

So, I side-stepped all my fears and left. I’m currently job searching and am being somewhat particular about which ads I answer. I want my choice of prospective employers to be the right one. I’m enjoying the time off with blogging and other projects that I never found time to do. Lately, I feel guilty about not applying to more positions.

My mom is living with my brother and his wife, which is a much safer situation for her, since he works from home. Because I came to Florida she had to give up her house and move, which she’s not happy about. More guilt.

Within two days of telling my significant other that I was leaving to seek new opportunities, he began the process of change that I had been hoping for. Always loving and supportive, he encouraged me to “spread my wings,” but is hoping that I will return to share a new and improved life with him. Yep, you guessed it…even more guilt.

Lying under this palm tree I’m thinking about how happy I am on one level, yet feeling guilty for the above mentioned reasons. Then it struck me:

All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another. ~ Anatole France

I’ve apparently got some self-reflection and work ahead.