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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Thank you for sharing your journey. It took a lot of “hutzpah” to undertake all of those changes! It seems you had at least one very strong motivation…your daughter! Isn’t it crazy what we’re willing to do for our kids? LOL I bet it was difficult to relive all of those experiences…but also cathartic to get them off your chest. I think you’re correct about HSPs shying away from making changes because we spend too much time hung up on all the “hard stuff” that change brings and not enough on the benefits that we may receive. Some of us give up when things get too uncomfortable, instead of forging ahead like you did. When I think of my own life, there are choices I made early on that I wish were different. I have always thought…well, I made my bed, I may as well make the best of it and sleep in it. But maybe I need to rethink this logic and consider making some changes…changes that better align with who I am now.
You are so right about me reliving the experiences that my wife and I had! It was painful, but as you said it was cathartic. I didn’t expect to write 23 posts about it! I thought that it was important to do so because I wanted to illustrate how HSPs can can reach that “impossible goal” if they have the motivation and mindset to see it through. I also want to emphasize that you don’t have to take on something as enormous as the task that my wife and I took on. You can use the same system for any goal. I’m going to expand the topic of change in a special report in the future.
I always remember my late mother always telling me…”You make your bed, now you lie in it.” It’s funny that you mentioned this! I took her words to heart and it has motivated me to better myself and improve different life situations.
I hope that my posts will inspire you to make the changes you need. It’s never too late to do so!
I’m always thinking about new topics to write about. Do you have any suggestions?
It’s true that HSPs do need encouragement (and support) to make changes, especially major ones! Getting back to the bed analogy, let’s remember that we can always switch beds. The new bed won’t be as familiar as the old one, but it could end up being a lot more comfortable in the long run! Some good topics could be around HSPs and relationships, including love/marriage, family, and in the workplace. Maybe things like coping with breakups, dealing with non-HSP partners, family, bosses, or even advice for non-HSPs on how to handle HSPs. Elaine Aron and others have written on some of these subjects, which can be interesting.
Thank you for your input Lynn. I agree, it’s good to change beds! It does take some time to break them in, but is well worth the effort!
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