I’ve thought a lot about what it feels like to make big changes recently. For most of my life, I tried to limit big changes and I only undertook them when forced upon me or after agonizingly long consideration. That all changed 4 years ago when we gave up our New York City life and began exploring the world in different ways in different places. Over the last 4 years, we’ve made a lot of big changes. (Living in a camper in Australia, backpacking through Asia, spending a year in a ski town, among many others.)
I’ve experienced patterns in myself (and in our family unit) in each step of a big change. The more I’ve learned about the roller coaster that the change can bring, the easier it has been to experience the ride.
Each of phase of the change brings different experiences and challenges. What does it feel like when trying to make the decision? What does it feel like to make the decision? How does it feel once the decision is made? What is it like after the decision is made, but before the change has happened? What is it like at the actual moment where you are making the change? It’s this last one that I am acutely focused on at the moment.
I talk to people frequently that are considering big life changes. People are often curious about how we came to make the big break from our life in New York City and head off into the unknown.
I find myself telling people that leaving, actually making the change, is the hardest part. The process of leaving creates this intense experience of being incredibly aware of all you are giving up – the people you love, the places you enjoy, the things that make you feel comfortable and safe, your favorite coffee shop – but you haven’t yet touched the new thing. In the moment before you leave you know acutely what you’re losing, but not yet what you will gain. You may have an intellectual image of what the new thing will bring, but it hasn’t happened yet. You haven’t lived it. You haven’t tasted it. You haven’t felt it. It’s wonderful new aspects are yet to be discovered. The only part that feels real is the loss.
So that’s where we are now. In the moment that feels like a ton of loss with only a vague image of wonderfulness to come.
We leave for our next adventure in 36 hours. The bags are packed. The boxes are ready to ship. Last minute errands are either getting done or thrown off the to do list. Goodbyes are well underway. And great things are yet to come… as they always do. But for now, we are in the hard part of leaving.