Tuesday, April 14, 2015

change is good; transition is hard

Goodbye EatingWell—one era ends, a new era begins.
When midnight came and went on December 31 last year, Col and I were miraculously awake to toast in the New Year. That never happens. We didn't require much dialogue to know what the other one was thinking, and so with our eyes and with our hearts, we committed our resolve. "To 2015," I said, raising my glass. "The year of change."

I won't mince words. While 2014 was an incredible year in many ways, most notably welcoming little baby Angus into the world, it was also the most challenging year we've faced together in our marriage. I had returned to a very difficult work environment after my maternity leave. Col was also dealing with the high demands of his job. With two small children and both of us in stressful full-time jobs, we rarely found time for ourselves, let alone each other. It's not that we were arguing all the time. It wasn't like that. It was just that we barely saw each other. We barely knew each other. Our balancing teacup act was resting nervously on the tipping point, just waiting for that one innocent catalyst to smash it all to pieces. Something had to give.

The occasion for change came swiftly, ready or not. Within weeks, I was presented with a promising job opportunity that would allow me to revitalize my career and find passion in my work once again. There wasn't much to discuss—we had already decided change needed to happen. My head, my heart and my gut were all saying, emphatically, "Yes!" I accepted the job.

But that didn't make the change any easier. My colleague at the time said to me, "change is good, but transition is hard." After eight good years with a brand and a company I'd poured my heart and soul into, I had made the decision to up and leave without looking back. Even as I was so excited for a fresh start and to let go of my heavy baggage, saying goodbye to each of my colleagues was like going through a traumatic breakup over and over again. And at my new job, it took me weeks before I stopped really missing my old team, my old systems, my old routine and all of the things that were familiar to me.

In the end though, the change really has been good. At work, I feel challenged and inspired. I come home at night with the mental space to converse with my family. I'm laughing again. I'm meeting friends for drinks after work. I'm regaining my life back. But we're still in transition, finding our new rhythms. Some of the other issues I've resolved to change still need addressing.

And some change is out of our control. That kind of change is sad and it is difficult. But it is almost always good. Eventually. It just takes time.

What I'm realizing lately is that this is not the year of change so much as it is the year of transition. Maybe even years of transition. It will be difficult, it will be inspiring, amazing, scary and heart-wrenching. But when I think about December 31, 2015, I don't have a clear picture of where we'll be on this journey, what our lives will look like or what we will be toasting. The bigger surrounding picture is still fuzzy. And that is exciting to me. That we still have time to shape things for the better. That we don't have to be stuck in a rut or chronically unhappy or stressed. It's incredibly empowering to finally have that epiphany. Would that it had come sooner in life. But better late than not at all.

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