Moving on can suck.
From a job. A place. A relationship.
I’ve never been particularly good at it. Generally the Universe has to give me a good smack to get me to let go, and accept that change is imminent.
Ugh. Imminent. I hate that feeling.
But recent years chock full of Against-My-Will changes has shown me that it isn’t the actual change that’s so hard —
It’s acknowledging the story I’d created about How Life Would Be.
How that relationship was supposed to involve skipping off into the sunset together. Family. Traveling to far-off beaches… together.
And when the relationship ended, so too did that story- despite my protest that THIS ISN’T HOW IT WAS SUPPOSED TO GO.
Or when the job ends, the one that was supposed to carry you through to retirement with a lovely benefits package and a team of colleagues that loves and values you and an opportunity to finally shine…
So too dies the story of what that was all going to mean for the future. Financial security. Certainty. Predictability.
Even more bone-shaking is when a goal ends. A dream dies. For whatever reason — physical or metaphysical, sudden or long and slow — there is grief. A moment of slackjaw, WTF now?! shock and confusion.
Nobody does those moments gracefully. Nobody.
Don’t let their Facebook updates fool you.
So what? So we grieve the end of a dream. The end of a story. It all deserves a proper goodbye as we pry our fingers off the pages.
And then? Turn back to the story.
What is it telling you about what you really, really want?
Aside from the guy/girl. Aside from the words on your resume. As difficult as it can be, let go of the details of the scenario and take a look at the big picture::
I wanted the loving, smiling, handsome partner to travel with, to have a kiddo with, who wants to go adventuring to beaches and mountains and who gets excited by all of my wildness, because it brings out his joy.
And when I realized I hadn’t quite found that in one man? My job became to trust that I could find it in someone else.
To take that story, to stretch it a little wider and to be open to having it fulfilled in some other way.
You wanted that job to be The Whole Shebang. Stimulating, with great coworkers, good pay, opportunity for you to really shine your talents. You’d set your sights on it for so long…
And then? That wasn’t it. Maybe slightly off. Maybe WAY off.
Refocus. Step back. What does the story tell you? Can you stretch it? Refocus? Reconfigure?
And then… The goals. The dreams.
When we get attached to a specific iteration of How It’s Supposed to Go, the sudden shift in course can be shattering. There’s no doubt.
But guess what?
You can keep this story — if you’re willing to change a few details.
See, the story you’ve crafted around how you want your life to look will stay with you, regardless of the details of HOW. That’s the clutch thing, right there — regardless of the details.
Regardless of WHICH guy I trot along the beach with.
Regardless of WHICH job fills my savings accounts.
Regardless of WHICH beach.
Or maybe it’s not a beach. Maybe it’s a field. Or a mountain path. Or a riverside.
It doesn’t matter.
The story that we mourn, that we fear letting go, is the very arrow that points to what we really want.
Stretch it. Imagine it bigger, with more possibilities than you know how to imagine. Yet.