November marks the one-year anniversary of the roller coaster I call rightsizing: spouse JM and I left our beloved home of two decades to build a cozy craftsman cottage. Other than divorce, downsizing and death, rightsizing has been the most chaotic event in my life.
Still, I remind myself daily how blessed we’ve been to undertake this change. With apologies to Maslow's hierarchy of needs, read on to learn how I survived and hope to thrive during this time of upheaval.
Basic Needs, Security
There's nothing like the excitement of having your life turned upside down ... not! Those two weeks of closing on two homes and living in a hotel in the interim were a blur. I’d wake at night, not knowing where I was. I gained new understanding for people who don’t have a permanent roof over their head, and every night for them is another stab of uncertainty.
TBH, I get squirrelly when there's extended periods of chaos like this in my physical space. Once we moved into the cottage, I attacked the unpacking, de-cluttering and recycling of a gazillion moving boxes. (It didn’t help that I was fighting an allergic reaction to a wasp sting. Prednisone dispensed to manage localized swelling had me madly organizing our new kitchen until 3 a.m.)
I looked to little things, like locating our winter clothes and discovering cherished pieces from Mama made the move intact, to lift my spirits and fight that feeling of being overwhelmed.
I’m big on feathering the nest, too. My surroundings are my security blanket and creative outlet, so I beavered away to make our cottage feel like a home. Furniture happily placed. Curtains I sewed for the former homestead draped perfectly on new windows. Pretties from the old garden nestled about, waiting for their new beds and soil amendments in spring.
Best, four months and two evil hurricanes later, the new space was finally where I hoped it would be. Then I kept my promise of christening its first "company" meal with our BFF former next-door neighbors and their daughters. We watched those two sweet girls grow from infants to amazing teens and were over the moon the family wanted to share this milestone with us.
Hey, you’re virtually invited to check the new digs, too, in a 60-second Before and After video from my You-Tube channel below.
Social Needs and Self-Esteem
slowly getting there
In addition to months of hard labor with boxing, unpacking and organizing, I was unprepared for the emotional upheaval and feelings of loss from exiting a dear community where I knew everyone, and everyone knew me. I tossed countless nights in the wee hours, second-guessing our decision to leave.
It helped to replay a lightbulb moment from a change leadership workshop I took back in my days in the private sector. I remember having 5 minutes to find a partner and complete three rounds of guessing something the other changed in each round.
Nearly everyone, including moi, REMOVED items ... eyeglasses, notebooks, pencils, etc. Nobody ADDED anything to demonstrate change.
to staying on top of transition was to
thinking of change
as a subtraction or loss.
get down and
boogie with change
as an addition or enhancement to new situations.
Think of change as gain!
I focus on viewing our transition as a huge, lovely win. Less on feeling sad by the loss of what we had before.
I miss the old ‘hood and cherished friends there, so I seek out new neighbors. And oh, those marvelous miles of wooded walking trails! I find different trails for morning walks that keep me sane and where I burn up audio books as I move along. I ramp up Body Flow workouts at the gym to 6 days a week to exorcise rightsizing demons. Being more active with volunteering and community service helps tons, too.
(be all you can be)
The most precious piece still eludes me:
I haven't gotten back to writing and publishing. I stopped altogether during the move and recently started with blogging and social medial in moderation. But I never want to return to 10-hour days/7-days-a-week craziness of crafting blogs, newsletters, marketing strategies, book reviews, Pinterest/Twitter/Facebook/Instagram posts, plus cranking out my WIP. Yikes! That was the road to burnout!
However, I don’t have a current work in progress. My kid lit writing is majorly stuck.
Zip. Zero. Goose Egg. Sigh.
After ending the Sweet T Series because of the expense to publish its color illustrations, I haven’t figured out which genre or content to tackle in its place. In fact, my brain shuts down whenever it wanders to the topic. I hope as life settles and the holidays pass, my brain will kick in, and I’ll be back at it by the first of the year.
In the meantime, I try not to fret and give myself permission to be on this transition roller coaster a bit longer. Your company on my writing road helps tons, too -:D. Cross your fingers for me?
How do you manage change? What strategies helped you master transitions? Please share in the comment section.
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