It is morning here on my side of the United States. I am sitting by the window on the tenth floor of the hotel we are staying in. We were lucky to get a view of the ocean this time. A pelican is diving for fish below. I watch as it flies high into the air, catching the wind and diving straight down, head first into the blue water. No fear. Tonight will be our last night of hotel living. Tomorrow is moving day. The time is finally here to claim our own space, as we will become home – owners officially. My husband has moved around so much in his life and hasn’t gotten the opportunity to purchase a house. His dream has become my dream and it’s coming true tomorrow. We are excited and terrified at the same time. We have big plans, DIY ideas, and a big backyard. We’re experiencing a little have the American dream and we feel like we’ve made it. Now where is that instruction manual that tells me how to move through change?
The extent of change that I’ve experienced lately is taking some time for me to process. Change always works for me this way. First I am excited, then I’m nervous, then I am overwhelmed. I’m journaling a lot, asking myself questions and searching for answers. I’ve come to the realization that the answers that I seek come only with time and experience, and patience. When times get sticky and the outcome is unknown, my anxiety begins to resurface. I only wish for some kind of manual that tells me exactly what to expect from the situation and tools to handle it. There is none. I wish that I knew how to move through events such as getting married, becoming a wife, relocation, caring for aging parents, what to do when you feel betrayed, dietary changes, unemployment, boredom, and building a social support network system. And maybe a how to manual doesn’t exist because it’s not supposed to. Difficult moments and events, while challenging at the time are there to build your resilience, your strength and ultimately exist to remind us that we are indeed powerful when we over come the hurdle. No matter how big or how small. I make it, you make it, and we make it. Below is what I have experienced lately with no instruction manual and what I’ve learned.
Getting Hitched: Two lives come together as one and it’s a big deal. My husband and I made a commitment in front of our friends and family a month ago that we had chosen each other and we were transitioning from being responsible for our individual selves to becoming responsible for each other. We were ready. There was some uncertainty for me. What was married life like? Is it just a continuation of engagement? What happens when we have our first big fight? Looking back over this experience of planning a wedding I know now that every piece of advice that my married friends and sister’s told me about the day of the event would happen, did end up happening. I gained insight from their experiences. Things went wrong, there was miscommunication, and we were exhausted the next day. I couldn’t even pull myself out of bed let alone speak in complete sentences. I have never been so wiped out! However, I started planning early. Although I tend to hide the pressure well I was still a stress case. The night before my wedding I cried to my best friend. She held me in a safe space to find temporary relief. I spent so much energy hoping to make our special day perfect. In the end it was a beautiful day and I was able to celebrate our union. The adopted practices of journaling, exercising and meditation helped to bring me through the moments of stress.
Becoming a Wife-y: As I continue to navigate this change and I am enjoying my time with my husband, I wonder how to step into my role as a wife with out loosing myself. I know it must sound harsh and unpleasant, or so self – defining, but I wonder. Do I cook, clean, grocery shop and do the laundry? What is my role if I am not working and contributing financially? Do other woman ask themselves the same questions? Should I call a physic? I journal again and again and I wait. I sit quietly and ask the universe for suggestions. I let go of the need to know right now and I take guidance from living.
Relocation: As Rob Bell has stated, every time there is a change in our lives, there is also an end to a season. Relocation is ending a season where you were living before and starting a new season the moment you arrive. It can be challenging to get there, to start again but it can also be rewarding. You learn to spend time with yourself again. The one thing that I enjoy about relocating is that I get to start fresh. It’s a chance to make new connections. No one knows who I am and there is an element of discovery. Yet, for me not knowing the area can cause a bit of anxiety. A few ways for me to get over the hurdle of a new place is to go out and explore. Get out of the house. Drive around the neighborhood, go for a walk, tour a museum or sit at a local coffee shop. Even when I feel the anxiety popping up I go out and explore some more.
Dietary Changes: I’m not like most people. I have food sensitivities. Sometimes still have a hard time when I eat wheat and cows dairy. While a majority of the food in the south is bread based and fried, some restaurants offer healthier options like salads, gluten-free bread etc. I’ve found two markets that sell alternative products and there is a local Farmer’s Market in our new town on the weekends. Whole Foods Market is a bit out of the way for me. It’s nice to have options though, especially when living in hotels and eating out has become our current norm. I can’t wait to be cooking in our own kitchen and choosing again what goes into my meals. More and more greens!
Aging Parents: My parents are older. Growing up, my parents were older then all of my friend’s parents. Both loved to dance and my father loved the outdoors and exploring. My sister’s and I have experienced their love for each other and for us. They are in their late 70’s, retired and enjoying life as best as they can. As a youngster, I thought my parents would never age or change. As time an experience has taught me, we all age. When my Dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s I wanted to find a book to explain the emotions that I was feeling and the experiences that I was having with him. He looks healthy but his mind is not. He remembers my name but he can’t remember when to eat or how to drive a car. I tried to read some books and there never was one that told my stories. I tried to blog about my experiences and could never get through a few lines with out crying. Then there is my Mom. It’s difficult to watch my Mother loose her partner and her best friend without loosing herself. Her freedom is disappearing; she is exhausted and yearns to engage in conversation with my Dad as she once did so frequently. My sister’s and I have stepped in to help and to take care of our parents when we can. We each struggle individually with what to do and how to do it. We now have become the parents to our parents.
Yet, as they always say, the adventure continues. Maybe it’s a good thing that a manual on life’s biggest events doesn’t really exist. I have learned that every one persons experience is going to be different from my own. As I navigate my way through, hopefully I can turn around and offer advice or suggestions to those going through similar events. As I become a homeowner tomorrow, my life again will change. More to come soon on home ownership and navigating the adventure.