May was a month of dealing with change. But for the first time, it wasn’t a completely aversive experience for me.
I’m a control freak. Everyone who knows me knows that. I actually had a professor start laughing once when she was reading out the personality characteristics for A-type personality and said “So, Rebecca.” (It was a small class, we were all friends, it was funny.)
But May has been a big season of change. In fact, this whole year or two have been. Only a brief 17 months ago I wasn’t even engaged–now I’ve been married for almost a year.
May was a pretty big shift for me, though, even more so than a lot of the marriage stuff was. I pretty much knew what to expect with that, to be honest. This month I graduated school (minus one course–finishing that up this summer but it’s online so I consider myself graduated from school in the sense that I’ll never sit in another undergrad level classroom again), Connor quit his job so now I’m the sole breadwinner so he can do full-time school this summer, and I started my first real career. It is insane. Plus, we moved, so now I have this new place to take care of.
For someone like me, all of this can be very overwhelming. Even though it’s all good, sometimes my nervousness peeks its head out and says “IS THAT SOMETHING ABOUT TO GO WRONG RIGHT THERE? YOU’D BETTER FREAK OUT UNTIL IT’S ALL BETTER. TRUST ME IT’S THE ONLY WAY.” (All my sister with anxiety, can I get an “Amen?”) That’s the crazy thing about being on edge all the time–even the good things can be stressful. I know, it doesn’t make sense, but it’s how it is.
To have it make even less sense, make sense of this: even though it makes me more nervous than almost anything else, I actually crave change. Yep. I’m not happy unless I’m trying something new, on some adventure, or exploring something exciting. But it makes my anxiety go into overdrive. So it’s a struggle, to be honest.
But you know what’s amazing? Now I’m in this gorgeous new apartment with lots of space, no noisy neighbours, in a much lower-crime neighbourhood, doing a job that is super fun, right by amazing green space during one of the most gorgeous summers we’ve had in years, and I’ve actually been able to enjoy it. This has been a huge breakthrough for me–just being able to sit and enjoy something despite everything changing all around me.
This breakthrough has helped me actually learn some things about myself and about my rocky relationship with change that have helped me process a bit what has been going on and I thought I’d share them with you.
Something will always go wrong
It’s inevitable. When you’re dealing with change, something goes wrong. Maybe the bills are a bit higher than you thought they would be, maybe that piece of furniture broke on the way there, maybe your shower doesn’t have the greatest water pressure. Whatever it is, I’ve been learning that you just have to accept it. If it’s a semi-permanent change, it’s just your life for the next little bit. Make it work, and no use stressing over something that can’t be fixed.
Just having something go wrong doesn’t mean that there isn’t an easy solution
Connor had to get a new computer and the speakers weren’t working. We had spent a ton of money on it (as one does for computers), and so I got stressed and annoyed. A lot more stressed and annoyed than I had to–it bothered me for hours, and it turned out that he just needed to download something online and had it working within 10 minutes of calling tech support. I wasted 3 hours of stress on a 10-minute issue.
Having something go wrong isn’t the worst case scenario. Sometimes it just went wrong, and you move on. And it’s OK to not get stressed about it–it’ll still get resolved even if you don’t fret.
Planning something exciting can make the anxiety go away
When I’m faced with change I’m often so stressed about what I have to get done and what might go wrong that I can’t focus on what’s good in what is happening, even when it’s 99% good and only 1% potentially bad. What’s been so great about this month was that we had a whole passel of friends help us move (seriously they were amazing) who made the day super fun, Connor and I can take walks to where all the baby chickadees are just learning how to fly right now, we have friends over for dinner in our new, grown-up place, and we can walk to the mall and go on dates whenever we want. This whole transition process has kept such a healthy balance of work and fun and that has helped me see progress in what we have to get done but also allows me to relax with my husband and with friends and just enjoy our new life in this place with me working.
Maybe to a lot of you this doesn’t seem like a very big change, and I’m sure I’m going to get comments like “Just wait until you have kids!” Or “Just wait until one of you loses a job someday” or the like, but let me just say this: please don’t make assumptions on someone else’s experience. For me, this was a lot to handle so I would appreciate compassion in that regard! I don’t mean to say that it was as stressful as other things (it wasn’t), but please be mindful that experience is subjective.
Anyway, I just wanted to share that with you all along with some June goals now that my life is back in order again (knock on wood, eh?). I missed doing these and since I won’t be posting quite as often this summer (book writing and all!), I thought this would be a fun way to keep you updated as to what was happening in my life!
Spiritual goal: get more into daily devotions
With work and moving I’ve really slacked on this–it’s also hard because my main ways of connecting to God are more emotions/senses based, which is interesting since I’m definitely naturally an intellectual. So reading my Bible doesn’t always have the same “connection” feel that I get when worshipping or standing in a cathedral looking at art. Also, I memorized 11 books of the Bible in high school so I’m pretty guilty of just relying on my knowledge to get by instead of actively learning more. So I’m realizing that I really need to be more on top of things in this regard because it’s truly vital to a healthy spiritual connection with God.
Work goal: Finish half of the book
Guys, I can do this. I’m actually so pumped–I’ve gotten four chapters written, two are ready to be handed in and two are first drafts that I have to edit further. By the end of the week I should have another first draft of a chapter done. I’m loving how this is coming together. Sometimes I’ve been feeling like my creative juices are more like molasses slowly oozing down an extremely shallow ramp towards corn syrup rather than free-flowing orange juice, but still. I’m enjoying myself and it has been going good so far. I feel like finishing half of the book to be pretty darn ready for the editors is actually quite doable.
Lifestyle goal: Get more into fun hobbies again
I’ve become a bit of a Netflix-addict, like the rest of my generation, and I was realizing when I was moving how many fun hobbies I have that I haven’t really picked up in a long time. I want to play guitar again, get back into sketching and pencil shading, and knit more. I’ve been doing well with knitting because I do it while watching Merlin with Connor, but I want to just start going to the park by our house and drawing again before I lose all semblance of talent in that area.
Have you had to deal with change lately? What were some things that helped you through it? What are your summer goals? Let me know in the comments!
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