My mom taught me never to use the word “suck,” but when it comes to change, there’s no other way to put it. Change sucks. It really does.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Change can also be really, really good. After all, without change there is no growth.
A lesson about change from my therapist friend
A few years ago…okay, more than a few—I was chatting with a friend about turning 30. Thirty isn’t old, so I didn’t understand why I felt so conflicted about this change. My friend, who happens to be a therapist, gave me one of the best truths I’ve ever heard:
With all change comes loss. And it’s okay to mourn the loss even while we celebrate the change.
In the years since that chat, I’ve come back to those words over and over.
When I married my husband and lost my single life.
When I became a mom and lost the quiet and normalcy of a kid-free life.
When I lost weight and some of my favorite clothes no longer fit.
What change looks like today
This week my parents are moving out of their home of 26 years. And I feel like the lamest of lame adults to be genuinely mourning the loss of that home base. Thankfully, I’m not alone in this feeling. My sisters are grieving alongside me.
This move is good for my parents. With their nest officially empty, a house with nine bedrooms is major overkill. But the logic of their decision doesn’t take away the pain.
That house is the only home base my three youngest siblings remember.
It’s the only place all eight of us kids have celebrated Christmases and Thanksgivings together…and where it took two full days to decorate, while wearing Santa hats and blaring holiday music.
It’s where we were all living when we met our plus-ones.
It’s the house we brought our babies to for their first holidays in the family.
It’s the place where, as children, my siblings built entire villages in the woods.
Where you could hide in the woods without leaving the property.
Where you could sneak out of any bedroom window for a midnight walk, if you were so inclined.
Where we enjoyed countless bonfires…soccer games…corn hole matches…wedding and baby showers…birthday parties.
My parents built that house with hospitality in mind, and that’s exactly how they lived for the past 26 years. I can count on one hand the number of my close friends who haven’t been to my parents’ home.
So yeah, change sucks.
Change can hurt even when it’s 100% good change
It’s hard to see all the goodness that will come with my parents’ move. But I can see goodness in other changes currently in the works.
In the next week or two, I’ll begin openly transitioning careers—leaving a 10+ year business in direct sales and opening shop as a freelance copywriter. And it’s exciting and fun and scary and intense…and sad.
You see, I’ll be stepping away from 10 years of relationships. They won’t actually die (I hope), but they will change. I won’t see these friends as often. We will no longer speak the same language or share the same struggles. I won’t enjoy the same discount (ouch!). Work won’t mean going to parties and hanging out with cool women.
Some of you will be experiencing another change with me in the next few weeks: our kids officially starting school. Sure, I’m not sending Reagan away to school, but still—it’s a change, and it will affect our lives. The effect will be mostly good and all necessary, but again…with change comes loss.
Santosha and change
The word santosha has been rolling around in my brain for months. It’s the Sanskrit word for contentment and harmony. But what really resonated was when I heard Jess Lively explain it this way:
“Santosha involves using the word ‘and’ rather than ‘but’ to describe our circumstances. Santosha is about allowing the good and the bad circumstances in our lives to live together without overshadowing one another.”
Now, when I think of santosha, I think of it as “the and.”
I loved the house and land where I grew up and I know we will create amazing memories in my parents’ new home.
My career of 10+ years was good for me and my new one will take me to the next level of growth.
Reagan’s first five years of life have been precious and fun and I’m excited to see how his world broadens as he learns and grows.
Leaning into change
So yeah, change officially sucks (sorry, Mom!). And…I’m learning to lean into it.
Denial will do me no good. I’ve already tried drowning my sadness in carbs and CW. Now it’s time to push forward, to feel the pain and experience the excitement.