As of late, I feel as though I’ve become somewhat of an expert on change. If you’ve been following my “Cliff’s Big Move” series of 23 posts, you will certainly understand why I feel qualified to say that! This is the final post in the series. Coping with the loss of my mother, settling her estate, selling my business of 35 years, leaving my home of 33 years, and moving half way across the country to be closer to my daughter was A LOT to deal with in a four-year period!
Changes—whether good or bad—cause stress and anxiety. They can usher in a cascade of unpleasant emotions, such as the sadness of leaving something behind, concern over adjusting to a new situation, fear of an uncertain future, and grief over a loss. As highly sensitive people, we often focus on the negative aspects of change, which can induce us to stick with the status quo, regardless of how unsatisfying the circumstance may be. We fail to consider the many positive features of change, such as the joy of controlling your own destiny, the opportunity to grow and learn, and the sense of accomplishment you feel in reaching your goals.
All of the major changes in my life began with the unexpected passing of my mother in July 2014. As I coped with my grief, I grew to accept this loss, despite my sadness. I was grateful that my mother lived a full life, and was spared from having to endure a painful or difficult illness at the end of her life. Her passing led me to fully appreciate the many things she taught me personally.
Sometimes, when a major loss happens, new opportunities arise in the midst of your sadness. My wife and I had wanted to leave New Jersey for a long time, mainly due to the high cost of living. When our daughter moved to Missouri for a job opportunity, we missed her A LOT and thought about relocating closer to her. However, I felt I needed to stay in New Jersey to be there for my mother. After settling my mother’s estate, I realized that it was the perfect time to make our “big move.”
During our transition, there were many difficult and anxious moments, as I’ve described throughout this series. My wife and I struggled to downsize everything we had and completed major renovation projects to prepare our home for sale. We took on the daunting tasks of selling our home without a realtor and then moving 950 miles away. I sold my business of 35 years, which felt like losing a part of myself. After a failed home purchase, we ended up cramming into our daughter’s one-bedroom apartment and then had a disastrous experience with the moving company. After the move, I suffered from stress and medical issues for the next two years. I guess my wife and I were lucky to NOT have known ahead of time of all obstacles we would face. Sometimes ignorance is indeed bliss!
As long and difficult as this journey was, it was also more rewarding than we could have ever imagined! My wife and I bought a house that we love in a great neighborhood. We are just a short drive from our daughter and are now able to share much more in her life, which means EVERYTHING to us!
The words our daughter wrote to us in a card for our our 41st Wedding Anniversary serve as a poignant reminder of how close we are to her and how “worth the trouble” it was for us to make the changes we did!
Dear Ma & Dad,
As time goes by,
I appreciate more and more
all the things
you’ve done for me.
I recognize kind acts
and realized sacrifices.
I understand your viewpoints
and appreciate your wisdom.
Not only do I love you
for these things,
but I love all that you are—
and I love that you’re my parents.
Aside from living closer to our daughter, there are other benefits as well. The cost of living in Missouri is much lower, so I don’t have kill myself trying to make ends meet. I can now focus more on things I love to do, such as my writing and my work with highly sensitive people and introverts.
In the end, my wife and I successfully accomplished something we never thought possible. The desire to live closer to our daughter was the primary motivation. It was the one thing that kept us plowing forward, no matter what happened. The power of love really does help create miracles! We even managed to keep our sanity somewhat intact and didn’t end up getting divorced…yet another miracle! LOL!
After all we went through, my wife and I are confident that we can now handle anything that comes our way! With a powerful incentive to succeed, a clear vision, a solid plan, and consistent effort over a course of time….there is nothing you cannot do!
Do you have an “impossible” something that you’ve been putting off because you felt you couldn’t do it? If so, do you have a clear vision of what you want? Do you have a burning desire to accomplish your goal? If so, what steps can you take, in the short and long-term, to bring you closer to your goal? I’m interested in any thoughts or comments you have.
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