We all go through changes in our lives. Many times it’s something external that happens – a job change, getting married, moving, losing someone close to us, returning to school, welcoming a new baby or having a son or daughter move out of the home – but sometimes it’s an internal change – discovering a new dream, reaching new insights about yourself or deepening your awareness.
The last few months have brought a number of changes for me: moving out of my old neighborhood, adopting a puppy with my boyfriend, and moving in together to a new place. The changes are ones that I wanted and they allow for so many new possibilities – yet no matter whether the change is desired or not, it is always a time of transition that requires adjustment.
Dealing with the outer change is one thing – we can make to-do lists, check off action items, get the packing done, the interviews, applications, read relevant books, etc. But we often don’t think about the inner adjustments that also need to take place: letting go of who we used to be, changing the definition of who we are, and becoming our new self.
Sometimes we are sad about letting go of the old, and part of us may still hold on to it. It may make us wonder whether that is a sign that the change was a bad idea. When I turned in the keys to my old place, I felt a wave of sadness. This was the last time I would be walking in and out of this home. I looked around, just trying to take in everything. The sadness took me by surprise, but in retrospect, it makes a lot of sense. This place was my home for the last few years and it was part of how I identified myself: This is where I live. It was now time to say good-bye and let go of that part of my identity.
Becoming a puppy Mommy was another big shift. It has certainly changed my day-to-day life, activities, and thoughts. With changes like these, where so many people are excited for you, it sometimes feels like there “shouldn’t” be any letting go or grieving of the past. But it is a significant change – your life is very different from before and there is a loss of some freedom and alone-time. Loving yourself means that it’s ok to be sad about that and grieve the loss of your old life. It’s all part of the process to make the transition to embracing my new life.
The same thing goes for moving in together – it’s exciting and wonderful, AND it is a big change as well. From agreeing on how to organize and decorate to the loss of personal space and time. Mourning the loss of my old life doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy our new life.
As much as we may want to rush past them – endings are the first part of any transition. This is the time to practice self-compassion and allow ourselves the time and space to grieve the loss of the way things were so you can let go of the old life. What events have brought change into your life in the past year? Have you allowed yourself to be sad and let go of your old life or old self before jumping into a new beginning?