Sometimes we just need to stop everything and get back to basics. Maybe that means slowing our schedule down or saying no to things in order to get clear. I know, a lot of us feel like we have had a lot of downtime and we should be abundantly clear on things by now. Not the case. Most of us have had 20 months of confusion, lack of a plan, and a desire to just get back to life as we know it. Sure, life is back to normal in a lot of ways, but for a good portion of us, we have had to start over. People are still looking for the right job (even though everyone seems to be hiring), a different degree, a different college, a new lifestyle, friends, a new city to live in, new goals, etc…These last 20 months have wreaked havoc for a lot of us while some have just continued doing what we have always done.
So, what does one do if you find yourself at a crossroads and not sure which way to go? First, get some perspective. Pretend you are at the top of a mountain looking down on your life. What do you see? In which areas do you seem to be walking along without any obstacles? Are there any areas in which you see yourself stuck? What seems to be the obstacle? Take some time to reflect on this. What would it take to remove the obstacle? Do you need to go over it, around it? Through it?
Let me give you an example. Let’s say you are in college and these last 20 months have disrupted your life in a big way. You find yourself in a situation that is less than desirable and you just want to start over. You have already begun working on a degree and you have a few friends, but it doesn’t feel like a good fit. Sure, you could transfer to a different university, but that feels like such a huge decision, and that step does not occur in a vacuum. It affects so many people and involves so many other decisions that you just feel paralyzed. So, you find yourself week after week unhappy and unable to make a decision. Where do you even begin?
Let’s take that same view from the mountain top and see where you are. What is it that is actually making you unhappy? Do you enjoy your classes? Do you feel like you are working toward the right degree? What does your support system look like at college? How are your friend group and roommate situation? What do you enjoy most about the city you live in? What opportunities are there that interest you? Are you homesick or is home just comfortable? If things were going perfectly, what would that look like? What could you do to make that happen where you are? If you actually transferred what would that look like?
Now, obviously, there are lot more questions that could and should be asked, but these are just a few to help hone in on where the problem exists. Maybe the answer isn’t to transfer, but to change something in your current situation. When we feel overwhelmed with life and everything feels insurmountable, it’s time to get some perspective and ask all the questions.
Once you’ve decided whether to stay or go then it’s time for the real work to begin; actually taking steps to make a change. Making a fresh start in anything takes work. You don’t just walk out of one door and into another.
Let’s say you have decided to transfer universities. Have you applied? Were you accepted? Have you looked to see if your credits transfer? Where will you live? What happens to your current living situation? Do you have a lease that needs to be taken over by someone else? What about your roommate? How do they feel about potentially having a new person living with them? When will you transfer?
It can feel overwhelming to make a change even when you know it’s the right thing to do. Break it down. Baby steps every day until you reach your goal. In this case, the goal is to transfer, but rest assured that once you get to this new university it’s still going to take work. You will have a new living situation to adjust to, new friends to meet, a support system to create and a new city to navigate. Is it worth it? It is if it’s truly what you want, you have done the work and you are prepared.
Maybe this example doesn’t apply to you. Maybe you want to start eating healthy and lose weight, but the holidays have arrived and you aren’t sure if it’s worth it. Go back to the top and ask yourself these same questions. What about your weight is making you unhappy? Are you enjoying your life at this weight or is it preventing you from doing things? What are you doing each day to reach this goal? You get the idea. The point is that regardless of your situation if you aren’t happy, you feel stuck, or just want to make a change, you need to start asking yourself all the questions so you can figure out where the problem actually exists and move forward from there.
Sometimes a fresh start begins with a fresh perspective. So take a deep breath and climb that proverbial mountain and take a good look at what is going on in your life. Get real and honest about what you are willing to do to make a change and then get ready for your life to begin again.
Sunshine & Sarcasm,
Lowi & G