Everything feels weird when we end a chapter and are about to begin a new one. There is this nostalgia for the past and a burning desire for the future to be better. Yet, you may be wiping your tears as you try to calm your fearful heart and your racing mind.
Change is scary. We like to be in control, and we want to feel secure and safe. Certain changes are inevitable. We just finished high school or university, or we quit our jobs, moved countries, broke up, or changed dreams. We feel like we are reinventing our lives, and this often threatens our identity. It can bring us a lot of doubt and anxiety, even if it feels like the right choice. We’re standing there feeling so small, scared that the world could swallow us whole because, in many cases, we feel that what we already know is better than what we don’t know.
And I am not going to lie, some transitioning periods are better than others. Some hit you like a train and distort you for a while. But what I’ve learned is that change is the only constant. People come and go, your life situation can change in the blink of an eye, and sometimes walking away from things—even if they’re bad for you—will feel like pulling knives out of your heart for a while. And that’s because we like certainty and familiarity. So, we must be gentle with ourselves through these transitioning phases to make it a less stressful time.
At the beginning of a big change, we might feel like it is the end of the world, or we might feel like we want to crawl back to whatever familiar past we had just to avoid the fear and the blankness of it all. It’s normal to feel this way. It’s normal to feel like a new chapter is so much plainer than the one we spent years building. However, that shouldn’t make you shy away from the new one. It’s normal to miss who you were and your old narrative. But what isn’t true is that it is the end of the world, even if your mind is trying to convince you of it, and as cliché as it is, every goodbye is a new hello even if you don’t feel it from where you are standing. I get that sometimes we’re so scared that our next step might be worse than our past, but this is simply fear speaking. You have no proof of that. For example, you’re about to move to a new country and you feel like you’re not going to make friends that are as good as your old ones or that the country is going to suck and you’ll hate it. However, these are just predictions. Your mind wants to control everything. We just like to hold on to things, but if we have a shift in perspective, we will know that great experiences can be achieved in most places.
And even if you feel like shit during the beginning of a change, it’s normal. Breaking up with someone toxic might still break your heart. Leaving your old job might make you sad and empty for a while. However, it doesn’t mean it was the wrong decision or that your life is going south. It’s like a curve where you’re going to lie down there for a while until you start to see new colorful possibilities through a new lens that is convenient for this phase of your life. So be gentle with yourself through the roller coaster of emotions you’re going to feel. Some changes are going to hurt badly. I want you to love yourself extra these days. I want you to reassure yourself, even if it feels hard. I want you to have an anchor that calms you down so that you can find some peace amidst the chaos. Accept all the feelings, the good and the bad. They are all temporary, so don’t judge your current situation based on them.
Another thing that really helps is looking back at your past and realizing how you made it despite every twist and turn. Sometimes the changes we completely despised gave us some of the best times of our lives and built us into stronger, wiser, and more adaptable individuals. Let your past victories be your guiding light when the going gets tough. You’ve done this before, and I want you to be more confident in your capacity to get through this. You mustn’t isolate yourself and keep doing normal things to try to feel like you’re on a less shaky ground.
Sometimes we will make a choice and then we will completely doubt it, even though we’ve spent months going over it in our minds until we know fully what our next step will be. So, when the time comes, don’t shy away, and remember your why. Remember the many nights you spent pondering this to get to this conclusion. Our minds tend to sometimes over-glorify the past, even though we were unhappy then. What helps is keeping a journal to track your thought process so that you can go back and remind yourself as well as make progress. If it helps you, at least you know that your life is not a destination. You are always evolving, and you have a choice to turn things around, so don’t freak out because you don’t have to be stuck in a situation forever. So, even if the next chapter seems dark, remember that there is a way out.
On that note, I am reminding you that life is vast, and the world is big and abundant. There are truly many opportunities out there if we choose curiosity and openness. Two quotes always help through such times, and these are “I am in love with people I’ve never met and cities I’ve never been to”by Melody Truong and “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage” by Anais Nin. The change will break your heart and give it rebirth again in the most unexpected ways. New experiences are an opportunity for growth, expansion, and meeting ourselves in a new way.
I hope that your next experiences will be equally as touching and beautiful as your last ones. At least, that’s a good place to start—hold your heart and stand straight. You’ve got this!