New Year, New Leaf

Starting over is hard. It can be rewarding but for most people there is a window of adjustment that can often make or break the way you feel about a new situation. Starting over comes in many shapes and sizes. It can be a new job, new career, the loss of a loved one, family dynamics, a new city, state or even country. No matter what the circumstances, starting over is universal. Everyone experiences it in one form or another in their lives.

It's hard to explain how I feel about starting over, I think me and it have a sort of love/hate relationship. On the one hand, starting over means a fresh start. I can leave the bad behind, be whoever I want to, change what I want to change. I can experience new things and explore new places. At the same time, starting over can often feel scary, lonely and frustrating.

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Despite being young, Jack and I have experienced our fair share of starting over. Six years of marriage and three coasts later, we have run the gamut of emotions when it comes to fresh starts. Our first move from Oregon to Tennessee was miserable for me. There's really no other way to put it. I was lonely and depressed, jobless and missing home. I survived, with much encouragement from the husband and I can honestly say, it gets easier each time. On our second move, the adjustment time was quicker and the friendships we developed there are indescribable. I truly felt at home in those four years. And now we are on our third move, which has been vastly smoother than the first. Jack and I are finding that each new experience teaches us more about ourselves and each other and those past experiences better prepare us to face the next challenge. I suppose that's pretty typical, right? We learn from our experiences and those that don't kill us make us stronger.  

Having now experienced numerous new beginnings, I've learned a few key things about myself. The biggest thing I've discovered, and am continually reminded of, is I need to do. End of story. I just need to do things to keep myself occupied and moving forward. I find it way too easy  to fall into a slump when I am not actively pushing myself to leave the house, especially now, with such a high stress job. All I want to do on my days off is throw on my comfiest sweats, curl up on the couch with an enormously large bowl of ice cream and watch Netflix until Jack comes home from work. Unfortunately, it is all too easy for me to make this a routine and the next thing I know, I find myself feeling isolated, alone and depressed. I know this about myself and even though I've become much better at countering these feelings with each move, I still find myself falling into the same patterns. 

Since moving to Austin, I have justified this pattern too many times because of the type of job I am in. I work hard long days and I come home and feel like those sweatpants are my consolation prize for all the effort I've just exerted. And while there is nothing wrong with taking time to relax and lounge about, it's when it becomes habit that it becomes problematic for me because, as much as I hate to admit it sometimes, I just need people. I don't necessarily need to be out with a friend, or in a group of people, I've found that even interacting with a grocer at the store or the waitress at the coffee shop is enough to brighten my day and make me feel like a human again. I often underestimate the impact human interaction in any form can have on my outlook. 

So, why am I sharing all of this information today? I've been thinking a lot about resolutions lately, it being that time of the year and all, and based on all this information, I think I've decided to make a few of my own.

  1. I resolve to stop beating myself up about work and take it one day at a time. To leave work at the hospital and make the most of my days off. I resolve to stop placing so much pressure on myself as a new nurse.
  2. I resolve to leave the house more, even if there is no one to go out exploring with me. To go on more walks and enjoy the beautiful Austin weather. I resolve to seek out adventures and explore new possibilities, letting them lead wherever they may.
  3. I resolve to be flexible with the stage I am in and to work on exercising patience as I wait for clarity in my career. I resolve to stop looking for fulfillment in my job and stop letting it define who I am.
  4. I resolve to step out of my comfort zone and make an extra effort to meet people. I resolve to say yes when a coworker asks me to go out, even if my sweatpants beckon.
  5. Lastly, I resolve to change those things I can, and let go of those things I can't.

That's it, my resolutions for the year. If you've made it this far, thanks for sticking with me. Check back with me tomorrow as I share my first efforts toward making good on these resolutions. 

For last year's words belong to last year's language, and next year's words await another voice.

                                                                                            -T.S. Eliot, Four Quartet

From Austin, With Love