It’s no secret that I just made some big life changes. I quit my day job, moved on from a previous relationship, and even moved to another continent. In the span of four weeks, my entire world has completely changed and I’ve had to say a lot of goodbyes to the people, places, and experiences that have grown to define my life. I’ve learned that even when we decide to shake things up, we’re never quite safe from that pervading feeling of loss. It’s often the transition — that period when you’re reaching out for stability and can’t find anything to grab on to — that is the hardest part to paddle through.
But not to worry, friends! Saying goodbye to the life you once knew doesn’t have to feel like walking on hot bricks. Today, I want to share some tips and ideas, so that when your own life decides to get a little feisty with you, you’ll have an arsenal of tools to get through it like the badass you really are.
1. Be bluntly realistic.
Whether you’re moving to a new city or just got dumped, things in your life WILL change. It might sound painful (and it probably kind of is), but you need to get real with yourself and verbalize all the ways your life may never be the same. You can talk to someone, write them down, or just make a list in your head, but no matter what you do, be honest. Talking about and lettings these things out in the open before they happen will make them less shocking when they actually do.
2. Make a memory board.
The night before I moved back to California, away from my boyfriend in Japan, we decided to make a memory board together. I printed a picture of us and got a plain white photo mat board. With pen in hand, we each shared a memory that we had together and wrote it on the board. It led to many laughs, some misty-eyes, and a feeling of happy fulfillment. By the time we were finished, the board was chock full of all kinds of memories. As sad as it can be to let go of those moments from our past, memorializing them in writing — and with the people we shared them with — can bring us closure and peace.
3. Make a slideshow of your past life to share with your present.
I’ve never tried this idea, but when I heard it from a friend, I thought it was fabulous. Since she is an avid traveler, she and her husband decided to make a PowerPoint slideshow after every trip or expat experience and share their favorite memories and moments with their family and friends. Why is this a great idea? It shares the unknown details of your previous life with the people in your present. Also, just like the memory board, it helps you reflect on your experiences so that you can bring closure to the person you once were as you venture into the person you are becoming.
4. This is adding to your growth.
Change is tough, you already know this. But what you must also remember is that with every change you encounter, you are growing as a human being. And isn’t that the point of it all, really? If you’re stuck in dead-end situations, you aren’t learning anything new. I’ve always, oddly, thought life much like a video game. We are presented with certain levels and tasks and we can only proceed to the next level when we are able to surpass all of the challenges currently being thrown at us. Even if everything feels like it sucks, don’t forget the sheer fact that you are becoming better, stronger, and wiser.
5. Look toward possibility.
So things are ending and you’re not sure how you feel about letting go of all the pieces of your past. Instead of mourning the ends, embrace the beginnings and all of the new possibilities coming your way. Maybe your partner is calling it quits on you or your job just laid you off, but difficult endings can often lead to opportunities you may not have otherwise discovered.
6. Some separation is a good thing.
It may be difficult to abruptly let go of a piece of your life, but sometimes a little distance can be a good thing. Give yourself time to heal and move on from your past experiences before trying to shove them into the crevices of your new life. Things will not be the same, so we can’t expect our relationships and experiences to continue being the same, too. Let go of what was and take some time to breathe and grow into who you are without the people and places that once defined you. When you’re ready, reintroduce them into your new life.
7. Don’t be scared.
When life changes, it can be a scary process — there’s nothing to hold on to. Your friendships may shift, deteriorate, or blossom. Partners and jobs may come and go. When this happens, it is easy to fear these changes, but remember — change doesn’t have to be a “good” or “bad” thing. Often, it just is. If you can accept these changes as the natural ebb and flow of life, then you’ll be able to look to the future with a clear, positive mindset. Don’t forget — you are not ahead or behind; you are exactly where you’re meant to stand.
Which pieces of your life are you trying to let go of? How are you moving on?