Discover more from The Next Step
How to manage big life transitions without losing yourself in the process.
What's new with you lately?
For many of us, we find ourselves at a point in life where it feels like the answer to that question is, "well, just about everything." Maybe we're starting a new chapter of our educational journey, we've moved to a new town or city, or we're starting a new job. When several big, new life steps collide, it can get pretty intense. As someone who's in the process of turning the newness of a new job and a new town into a familiar routine, here are some key lessons I've learned.
You don't have to try to make your new life look exactly like your old life.
Maybe you used to wake up early and run every morning before class, but when you try to do it before work, you end up tired and cranky by 2pm. Or, on the flip side, maybe you used to wake up ten minutes before class to brush your teeth and throw on a t-shirt before tumbling into the back row of the lecture hall, but you find that type of morning routine just doesn't help you feel prepared for your workday. Maybe the new town you live in doesn't have a gym five minutes away, so it doesn't fit well into your schedule, or maybe there's just no good place for Sunday brunch anymore. Well, you know what? You can simply change your routine. Yes, it will take time to develop new habits (or to kick old ones), but there's no reason you can't design your day in the way that best suits your goals in this new season. Try a different morning routine every day of the week and see what feels good. Make your workouts shorter, but more intense, so you don't worry about the extra drive time. And hey, maybe you'd enjoy making your own Sunday brunch sometimes instead of going out. The possibilities are literally endless.
It's okay to be sad sometimes that your old life is gone.
The first night alone in my new apartment after moving away from my much-loved college town, I may or may not have shed a few tears. It's not that I wasn't excited to live in a new place, but it felt lonely at first. Yes, it's great you're in this new chapter, but especially if you really loved the last one, it can be hard to let it go. That's okay. Take time to reflect on what made the last season of life so sweet. What are elements that you can bring to this new chapter? What are aspects that, if you tried to recreate them now, it just wouldn't bring you joy? Who are the people who brought fulfillment, and how can you either stay in touch with them or develop similar relationships in your new spot? Yet, even amidst your plans for how to remain fulfilled, it's okay to take time to acknowledge that where you've been is not a place to which you can return.
Find a few elements of consistency.
All the newness can be overwhelming, and it can be easy to forget what is still true, trustworthy, and something you can hold on to. For me, I've held on tightly to my faith, my fiance, and my fitness. Even though it took me awhile to re-establish my morning routine with Bible study, I found small ways to seek the Lord each day, whether through a podcast study, a spare moment in prayer, or a conversation with my mom. No matter what's going on in our lives, my fiance and I make time each day to check in and see how we're doing. When it comes to fitness, I made a commitment I would stick to my training program even when traveling, moving, and in a new place: it was a way to know I would always have that time with myself in the gym, four times a week, to decompress and do something I enjoy. Whatever those things are for you, whether it's regular check-ins with a friend or significant other, a faith habit, or some other piece of your lifestyle, find a few things to keep you grounded.
Newness is cool, but man, it can be hard. At the risk of repeating myself too much, that’s okay. No one said it would be easy, and to the best of our ability, we should surround ourselves with folks who understand that fact. Acknowledge the challenge, allow yourself to experience the range of emotions that result, and work intentionally to grow into a new season that will fulfill you even more than the last one. As hard as it may be to believe at first, this new season will one day become an old, dearly loved, season, and you’ll learn to leave it behind for yet another. Such is life, but what a sweet life it is, new and old seasons alike.
Journal Prompt of the Week
When was the last time you tackled a big “new” in your life? How might you do so even more effectively next time?
Share with the Community
What will you take away from these lessons for the next time you face a new season?