Have you ever slept in your car in an airport parking garage? Ok, you probably actually have, as sleeping in airports isn't really that crazy. But have you ever done it right after blowing the entire life you knew apart and making massive changes, there because you have no where to call “home”?
I think not.
If you have, kudos to you, because you know its one hell of a ride, and one that I've been on.
2017 has been one crazy year. If you know me, you know that. If you know me from some vague snapshot on social media, you know some things have changed. If you don't know me at all and you've stumbled upon this in the deep crevices of the internet, you probably know someone like me.
This kind of a story isn't an easy one to talk about, mostly because its ugly. Ugly like: someone might not think I'm perfect anymore and riding on the backs of unicorns and following the rules that humans should follow so no one hates them on Facebook , ugly.
But here's the thing, and why I'm writing about this . Someone out there, is going to look at this and say OMG, that's me. That's me and my feelings and my life or that's what I WANT to be my life but I can't do it because its too hard.
And I want to be here to tell you that making huge changes IS too hard, oh is it ever. But you will be ok. And it will suck and you will learn more than you ever have in your life and emerge a better person than you were before.
Without going into too much detail out of respect for other involved parties, I found myself very unhappy in a relationship situation I was in at the beginning of this year. No, no one was a bad person, nothing outlandish happened to solidify the choice, and no one came at anyone with knives.
I just found myself to be living in a non authentic situation (aka a lie) because it was easy, all I knew for so long, and I didn't want to hurt anyone. The downfall was gradual, and almost went completely unnoticed.
However, as the commitment to forever presented itself and drew ever closer, my guts screamed Stop! Stop! NO! a little louder each day.
Always being one to listen to my guts, I realized a massive shift was about to occur and the power of knowing in my heart what I had to do was far greater than my fear of, well, upsetting other people.
The see-saw tipped one day, leading to a series of serious talks, difficult admissions, crazy truths, turmoil, disappointing and surprising many other people, and general out of body experiences that this was really happening.
I was really going to blow my entire life apart as I knew it.
Its so scary to talk about this. Why? Because disclosing anything opens a person up to judgment, duh. Everyone else will always have an opinion about how you should live, and be quick to point out what you did wrong.
But I know there are other people out there, sacrificing their happiness, living a lie, not taking action on their truth, because of this very fear.
So I want to tell you honestly what its like, how it feels, and what to expect when you make big changes, be it leaving a stable job, moving, or yes ending a long relationship.
So here you go, here's what to expect in my experience, when you make huge changes in your life....
1)People will hate you on Facebook.
We all like to nose around on each others social media for signs of what “happened” when someone makes a life change. Where does she work now? What happened to her boyfriend? Why isn't his dog in any of his pictures?
People will be doing this to you when you make a big change. They may have “heard something” through the grapevine, or they may be trying to figure it out on their own.
People who used to like your pictures and statuses will stop. You will get unfreinded. People will assume you are a terrible human being who haven't even spoken to you in five years.
You can do nothing to stop this.
It will be uncomfortable and you will want to justify yourself to everyone. It is not going to be worth it because remember, your life is yours and yours alone. Time will pass, and people who barely know you WILL forget it ever happened.
2) People will hate you in real life.
Be it ex coworkers you left behind when you went to a better gig, your ex partner and his or her friends and family, or the people you left behind when you moved to China, people in real life will be a bit peeved.
It is nearly impossible to part ways with anyone and anything without developing some kind of “side” in the situation. The other “side” will not share the same sentiments about the changes as you. If they did, they too would have made the same change at the exact same time.
You can part ways amicably, but almost always, the person or people who's direction you are moving away from, will not hold you in as high of esteem as they once did.
You will have to accept you can't make everyone happy, and life just hurts sometimes and things that will benefit you and others long term, have to hurt NOW.
3) You'll have to remind yourself often are not an awful person for wanting what you want in life.
At each stage of life, getting a job, getting married, having kids, moving, buying a house, etc, sometimes people just drift along with what everyone else around tells them they should want, or what they should think is “normal.”
You decided that something didn't feel right to you in your life, and you took action on it . That is a hard but brave thing to do (because of all the above points). Too many people can't bear the judgments that will be bestowed upon them, and for good reason.
It really, really sucks. It hurts.
But you don't want to find yourself
with three kids living in Kansas when all you really wanted was
to be a Brain Surgeon in the best hospital in Manhattan.
Because I have news, not to copy Gary V but he's right here: Someday, you'll be dead. You can't come back and do this over.
Sometimes, in the case of a breakup especially, these big choices will involve hurting other people. Unless you are a truly a POS human being, this will not feel good and it will not be fun. Because you are not dead inside, you will feel bad. That is normal, and it is OK.
Sometimes, the hardest thing and right thing are the same, just like that old song by The Fray. Remember, every human deserves real love, respect and to live a great life. In the case of a breakup, wouldn't it be worse to lead someone on long term?
You are not an awful person for making changes, even ones that temporarily hurt other humans. You would be a far more awful person if you lied your entire life away and robbed others chances at what THEY want.
Hopefully, being the brave human you are, you go through life listening to your guts before you make big commitments. The more responsibility involved in your choices, the more seriously you should take them. Options are limited sometimes, and you may find yourself making the best of situations you are in, which is great, but late at night in the dark and quiet, you know you will always wonder “what if”?
That long term unease is going to be worse than this short term sharp pain of change.
4) You will see who your friends and family really are.
When all goes south, who sticks around? Friends you weren't that close to at first will surprise you with the amount of support they give you for your choices. Friends you used to rely on, won't even return your calls, will judge you, and will not “side” with you.
They will not hear you out and will have already decided they don't want anything to do with you based on something they heard or saw on Facebook. They will never ask you for your perspective.
The same goes for family members. It will not be easy to tell family members about your life changes. They will need some time to come around and adjust, too. But if family is truly family, they will see you are happier and will support you fully in time. If they don't, you will have to distance yourself for a while, if not permanently if you discover some not-so-great truths about their loyalties. You must just bear this discomfort as it comes.
5) You will feel more determined than ever to get the rest of your life together.
Going through a breakup? You might have time to start that side gig you always wanted to now. Moving to Utah? Could be time to try skiing. Been wanting to spend more time growing your business, working on a project, adopting an animal or traveling?
The changes, whatever they were, will have given you new perspective on things, new chances to do stuff you might have been wanting to do before you blew your life as you knew it, apart. These things were not the main motivator for changing your life, but they come as welcome and surprising benefits. This is called growing as a person.
6) It will take time to adjust and that is OK.
Feelz, thoughts, and demons will continue to surface for a while after you make a big change.
Things you didnt even realize you were going to feel, you will feel. Thoughts you did not even fathom having, you will have.
You will have to work through these daily for a while, and wonder why you ever thought changing your life would make you happier. Eventually, it will get easier, you will adapt, and you will be happier. If you are not, you will see the next move you need to make to find happiness more clearly. All of this will result in large amounts of personal growth. This is good.
Despite everything, there will still be people that judge you harshly, be it from their own jealousy of passing by their own changes to make the choices you did, or be it because they think (keyword think) that they would have done it better or differently in your situation.
That will always suck.
But what will always suck more is not living your truth. I don't mean to sound like some crazy, bullshit toting shamen, but if you don't live your life putting your own happiness first, how can you possibly give the best of you to others and to the world?
Not from a job you hate. Not from living in a town you're sick of. And not from a relationship that isn't working for you any longer, especially in your rapidly changing 20s.
Pushing through and ignoring these doubts you have to spare judgment, could result in, complacency, wasted talents, kids without an example of real love to learn from, and daily stress and unrest , that you continue to stuff down until you expire.
If you keep beating down doubt and signs that things need to change in your life like you're playing a game of Whac-A-Mole, This is your wake-up call. Ten years from now, is anyone on social media, or your real friends and family, going to care at all about what you did back in 2017 to progress your own life?
No . They'll move on to the next thing. They'll see your happiness, progress and growth and be unable to deny that you did the “right” thing.
Those you may have hurt temporarily, will hopefully be living a life doing what they love, because even if they didn't see you were holding them back from that, you were. If they aren't, well you avoided that type of person before things got more complicated by greater commitment and responsibility.
Think long term, think about the people that REALLY matter to you and the ones you know will always be there.
That should never change.
I wish you luck in all your big changes. And if you find yourself sleeping in an airport parking garage in order to MAKE these moves, despite the cold, and the trucks thundering over the joints in the damn thing all night, I assure you, it is without a doubt, 100% worth it.