Yes, the official start of fall is right around the corner. The air has already begun to feel crisp, and the scarves and boots are somehow already starting to tumble out of already-too-full closets. And although this shift in weather already has many of us blowing our noses and reaching for the cold and allergy medication we’ve got tucked under the bathroom sink, there is another seasonal change to consider.
For as long as I’ve been alive, I have battled a love-hate relationship with the tides of change. Since time is linear, and there is a cycle to life that cannot be held back or resisted, nothing ever stays the same for too long.
This past weekend, as I woke up bright and early to begin the final preparations for a good friend’s wedding, I was overwhelmed by this feeling that I always dread. Change is in the air.
It’s this almost imperceivable shift in the air, a gentle wave of nostalgia that overcomes you from head to toe. It clouds your mind and muddles your thoughts. There’s this growing desperation inside of you, a desperation to hang on to this season that you’re in and never let go.
I can easily see the past seasons of my life in retrospect; often, they are brought to mind by that song we listened to at my high school graduation party, the smell of my deodorant used during 6th grade summer camp, or an old rug that reminds me of my first apartment. But I can also distinctly remember the way I resisted the change into the following slots in my timeline of life.
I’m never ready for the next season. I struggle against it and feebly attempt to fight the change.
This time, though, I’m trying a new technique. I’ve fondly titled it, “The ARPA Rule”.
The first thing I do to resist the changing of life seasons is to resist the basic facts. Nothing will be different. Nothing is going to change. This isn’t going to be a big deal.
I lie to myself, however badly I have to, in order to keep my sanity intact. This is the flight portion of “fight or flight”.
If I’m going to fight my fears, then I need to take time to say allowed that which scares me most: Everything is about to shift. My new job will require new things from me, things I might not even know yet. My boyfriend’s promotion means less quality time together, and more home responsibilities shifted onto my plate. 2017 is rapidly approaching a close, and there are many things I have yet to do that I’ve desperately wanted to do.
There. I said it. I acknowledged the shifts, I recognized the newness, and I now can no longer pretend to be in the dark about what is expected to come next.
You’ve looked ahead, you’ve acknowledged what is to come. But what are you leaving behind in this season? It’s so crucial to take a few moments to jot down what you loved about this last portion of your life. All the things you will miss, what you’ve learned, and even the things you didn’t particularly like.
Not only will this give you the clarity of mind to move forward, it will also be something to look back on the next time you feel the shift of time coming for you. Reflecting on your life year after year is really a wonderful, self-aware activity for healthy adults.
Now that you’ve acknowledged the change and reflected on what you’re leaving behind, you’re ready to create your plan of action. It’s important to follow this step in order to meet this new part of your life with the least amount of resistance.
Since I am a kinesthetic learner, I prefer to write things down to commit them to memory. My plan looks something like this:
You’ve taken the bull by the horns and taken all of the guessing work out of this new season of life. You have taken inventory of your fears and planned your responses accordingly. Now these can change as you move forward, but you at least have a basis for action now that you’ve adequately prepared for what is to come.
It’s absolutely normal to be terrified of the unknown, but allowing the stress that follows unpreparedness to consume you as you journey into the next stage of life is inexcusable. With the help of these simple steps, one can easily move into their new season with confidence and poise! (And what busy lady or gentleman doesn’t want that?)