I’m not a big fan of change. I used to assume everybody became anxiety ridden, disorientated beings at the prospect of doing something different. But to my surprise, some people love change. They thrive on spontaneity and disrupted plans. Me? I like to think I’m some sort of free-spirited chameleon, blending into new adventures, but that’s not the case. New house. New job. New relationship. This stuff can be scary.
I spent the first 20 years of my life living in the same house. Last month, I moved alone to a new city – one that I’d only visited once, for an hour or so beforehand – and I told myself to be excited. And to be fair, I was excited, but beneath that I was unbearably petrified. I felt like I was being thrown straight into the deep end, and I missed the feeling of my feet firmly on the floor.
Whether you like it or not, we all have to live through change – some good and some bad. There are, however, some tips for making things more bearable.
1. You can love something and still be scared by it
You might be trembling on your way to your first shift at your new job, but it’s still the job you’ve dreamed of landing since you were little. You might be terrified as your baby’s due date gets closer, but you stand by the fact that you’re going to be a good parent. It’s okay to feel scared about something big in your life – that’s totally normal – but that doesn’t invalidate any other feelings you have towards it either. Nothing’s ever clean-cut black and white. If in doubt, think about the positives.
2. Don’t get stuck
If you’re feeling nervous about a big change in your life, remember that they’re often necessary if you want to progress in life. You might be sweating it about picking up the keys to your new house, but put things into perspective. If the alternative is to spend another year in your parent’s spare bedroom, the scarier option seems like a no brainer.
3. Learn how to say no
I’ll admit it: I’m pretty good at being a pushover. But if you don’t want to do something, just say so. Once you feel more comfortable putting your foot down when you need to, you’ll feel surer about the things you do want as well. Trust your gut.
4. Choose solutions over problems
So, you’ve broken up with your boyfriend, and the last 24 hours have consisted of many tears, multiple glasses of wine, and a lot of chocolate. Fair enough. But now it’s time to pick yourself back up. You can spend all your time feeling sorry for yourself, or you can put your energy into something good. Work on yourself. Get a new hobby. Meet new people. You have the power to decide if this will be a good or a bad change for yourself.
5. Be comfortable in your own company
Change can be extra scary when it’s done alone. And a lot of new changes can cause loneliness. Moving away. Leaving your work colleagues for another job. Ending a relationship. Changes are easier when you’ve got good people supporting you, but I also think they’re crucial times to rely on yourself. Once you gain some independence, you’ll feel much more resilient towards whatever life throws at you.
6. Remember to laugh
This one can be difficult, depending on the change. A death in the family or the end of a marriage aren’t really my kind of sense of humour. But sometimes, you’ve just got to relax. Don’t take life so seriously. You’re going to go through this change, whether you like it or not, so you may as well make it easier for yourself by looking on the brighter side.
Imagine if things never changed. Imagine if we had one path in life, and no option to ever take an alternative route. Change is this intimidating, unidentifiable character, stood in front of your finishing line. It’s scary, perhaps, but I say embrace it.