This post is quite vulnerable, but I wanted to write it for the people who are in the same place as me (or who have been).
Transition is hard. It’s complex. It’s predictable and unpredictable. It’s exciting. It’s terrifying. And I have experienced each and every one of these aspects daily this past week.
Last Saturday I went on a 3-mile hike with my brother, sister-in-law, niece, and two nephews. Then we went to a really cool kid’s museum. I was surrounded by family and fun. A week later, today, I am by myself far away from my family with the only task of packing up my things for another move. Feeling really lonely today.
Transitions are a natural part of life. They happen all the time. Looking back on my own life, I’ve had quite a few big ones. High school to college. US to Haiti and back. Ohio to DC. Nanny to office job. And now DC/real world to Winchester/school. My move from Ohio to DC was by far the biggest transition I ever made. But I feel like I’m not coping as well this time, although the months after moving to DC were awful because of my incompatibility with the family I worked for and taking a while to make friends. At least with this transition I feel that once I am in the trenches of grad school it will get a lot easier because I will have a set routine. And as a friend pointed out to me the other day, I thrive on routine and desperately need it right now.
So what do you do during that transition? Here are some things I think are helpful. (And I am speaking to myself first and foremost with this list, because I’ve been a little too good at wallowing in my loneliness and need to get over it and be healthy about this transition.)
– Talk to God. You knew I was going to say this right? It’s seems so cliche but it’s so important. I remember the first night I was in my dorm room my freshman year of college I prayed “God, I know you better than anyone else here.” And that was comforting. Two days ago I had a particularly emotional day and when those happen I am always comforted by the thought that God knew this was all going to happen. Which to me means He’s got it under control. It doesn’t make me angry that He lets hard things happen to me, it makes me realize that He’s growing me. And growing pains hurt.
– Read the Bible. If only for completely practical purposes, reading the Bible simply fills empty time when you don’t have any friends to hang out with yet or money to go do things. And then once you’re reading you’ll start to feel the anxiety go away. The familiarity and hope in the Word is always comforting to me. And if you don’t know where to turn to, start with Psalms. You’ll read words that describe exactly how you’re feeling.
– Talk to your family and friends. I have this awful habit of thinking that people have this out-of-sight-out-of-mind attitude with me. Otherwise known as insecurity. Feeling like people don’t think I exist since I’m not around. I have found that just sending a text or email saying hi, thanking them for their friendship, calling your mom or dad just to hear their voice – these are all good things. And to go along with this one:
– Share your concerns. Sometimes I feel like at 27 I should be able to handle all of these changes. I mean, I spent an entire summer in Haiti with no first-world commodities, but I feel less secure here. But you know what? It never gets easier. And during this transition particularly, I’ve found that telling my family and friends the truth about how stressed and scared I am is a-ok. Everyone can sympathize with transition because everyone’s been through one. Hearing stories of other peoples’ transitions and how they got through is helpful. And I never get tired of hearing “Everything is going to be okay. It will all work out in the end.” Never. In my opinion that’s the equivalent of a bear hug.
And here is my final thought on getting through a transition: It’s okay to cry yourself to sleep, it’s okay to freak out, it’s okay to watch a movie that makes you feel like you’re back at home, it’s okay to doubt, it’s okay to feel scared, it’s okay to not have all the answers. Because,
Everything is going to be okay. It will all work out in the end.
p.s. When I went through a hard break up a few years ago, this song single-handedly helped me out of the loneliness pit. And it really made me feel better this morning when I woke up feeling very alone.