Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The First Six Months

We've been at the new house almost six months now, so it seemed like a good time to take stock of where we're at.

I'd be lying if I said the whole thing has been magical, wonderful, and easy. Certainly, parts of it have felt that way, but the first few months of the transition were trying for me personally. Going into this adventure, I knew there was no way to know how it would feel until I was actually in it. Maybe it would be easy and a dream come true, or maybe I would freak out. I didn't know. Nonetheless, I still knew I wanted to do it. If I chickened out, my reasons were fear and self doubt, and I didn't respect those reasons. I'd been handed one of the most exciting and wonderful opportunities of my life, and I could not accept passing it over because of fear. 

So we moved to the country, and along with all the wonderful feelings of freedom, adventure, and  excitement, I experienced a bit of culture shock. I missed the energy of the city, my friends, my apartment, the convenience of Boston, and a million other little things. I started to miss things I didn't even know I had cared about. Out here we can go for days without seeing people, which is a very strange thing after living 10 years in a big city.

It's amazing how dependent our sense of security and well being is on familiarity. How many of us stay in jobs and relationships that are no longer good for us because the fear of change is so great? We know we need to move on, but even knowing this, change can be so jarring when it comes. And so during those first months Josh and I had late night discussions about what would happen if I couldn't hack it in the country. Then what would we do? Some days were really good, some were hard.

But despite all of this, I knew I wanted to keep doing it. I wanted to see how it would feel to move into and through the uncomfortable and sometimes painful emotions, and just let it all happen. Let it run its course. Instead of fighting and moving away from the feelings, just let them be there.

I don't know exactly when or how things changed -- months ago now -- but all of a sudden one week I realized I was fine. The new house didn't feel new anymore, it felt like home. The idea of living this way wasn't daunting or unknown, I knew it was doable for me, and I was so excited about all of the projects we had planned. Driving 45 minutes to get to a grocery store, a thought that once had me questioning why the heck I had chosen to live this way, was now an opportunity to hit up all the good thrifting spots on the way there. It is interesting to observe that, given a little time, the brain is very good at adapting. Sometimes it doesn't happen as fast as we would like, but one day you wake up and realize those fears, qualms, and doubts have passed on through. The new comfortable is the one you are living. Sometimes it takes a personal realization or the encouraging words of a friend, but often it just takes time. Fortunately for me, it didn't that too long. Maybe a couple months, which, considering the magnitude of the change I had made (new job, new state, new house, new fiance, leaving all my friends), is not too shabby.

It is unfortunate how many opportunities are missed because of fear of the unknown, fear of taking the leap. What if I don't like it? What if I fail? What if they don't like me? If anyone out there is considering making a change or pulling the trigger on following a dream, the point of this post is to encourage you to jump and embrace whatever happens. So many of us make big, scary changes only when we feel that every angle has been planned and the likelihood of failing minimized. Sometimes that works, but sometimes life goes another way. The moment life veers off your preplanned course is the most important spot. It's here where instead of bailing out, giving up, and going back to the old way, all that is needed is to let it be hard until it's easy. Don't distract yourself from feeling by keeping so busy you don't have time to be alone with yourself. Let the feelings come, but don't attach yourself to them. You will surprise yourself with how quickly they pass if you can just let it be.


  1. I'm in the middle of a big, scary change in my life. Today has been a hard day. I'm glad you wrote this post- thank you.

  2. Thank you for posting this Claire. I reccently decided to start blogging (just one post so far) and it's so scary! Especially after being rejected for a couple of jobs I really wanted. My background is marketing but I've got a much less creative job at the moment and I thought blogging would be a good outlet. I also want to say thank you for writing your blog. I look forward to reading it every week.

  3. Hey there ~

    I only met you briefly but feel as if I have known you all my life. Your ability to articulate the change experience could not be better voiced. And, it will serve you well as woman, who will encounter this journey for ever more throughout your life. Our adaptation to change is in that ability to ride the wave, and the wave eventually makes it's way to shore.

    Great blog, Claire ~ Lee Ann (Gale:)

  4. I know this post is an older one, but I just have to say thank you for it. You describe exactly the things I'm pondering at the moment. My partner and I will move to the country next year and besides my urgent wish to have all the great opportunities like SPACE, fresh air, silence, nature all around, there always is the fear that I will not adapt, the neighbors are confrontational and the schools not as good as they are here.
    But in the end it's all about the change and if you don't feel happy in the place you are, you have to change it yourself in the direction that you think is good for you.

    So thank you for the reminder, that fear is not what should make decisions for you,


    PS: I once heard from a neurobiologist, that the brain needs 6month to fully adapt to a major change.

  5. Anne, thanks for commenting! I hope you can find your way with the big changes you are considering. Big changes can be so hard, but worth it. I think it's taken about a year to finally feel like Vermont is home, but sure enough it finally does. Be patient with yourself and best of luck to you!