Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Welcome Back! [Welcome to My Life in Lancaster!]

Welcome back everyone! I've reinstated my blog now that I have found a full time job. Today I'm writing about transitions, and My Life in Lancaster. (That sounds like a great book title...) This one is a little long, but I have months of life to catch you up on, with a good resolution at the end. Join me, and stick with me during this new chapter! Love you all!

Transitions are hard.

Whether you’re starting the next level of your schooling, a new career, or a new chapter of your life, it’s hard to deny--change is tough.

I have always had an immense amount of pride in my ability to handle change. My top StrengthsFinder is Adaptability...I go with the flow, and whisper that first part of the Serenity Prayer. You know, “God grant  me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change…” If I were brave enough, I’d tattoo it on the back of my hand as a constant reminder.

But recently I’ve come to realize that “change” and “a time of transition” aren’t always the same thing. We often use them interchangeably, and this of course varies for everyone…my definition of “change” is something that happens unexpectedly and throws off my routine or balance. And my definition of “a time of transition” is something that has been anticipated.

This new chapter that I’ve started is undeniably a life change, but it’s more of a transition. I have been anticipating moving to Lancaster for 5 years. It was the summer of 2010 when I made my first long-term visit. I stayed for a week with Liesl and we had our inaugural year of kids theatre camp. I met so many people who have influenced the woman I am now and I will never forget that. Each year since then, I’ve made the trek back and forth for various reasons, and about 6 months before I got engaged I knew that I had to spend my engagement in the city of Lancaster.

That didn’t happen. Instead I had to deal with change. He moved, I stayed. I was plagued by crippling panic attacks for weeks after he left. I shoved the idea of moving to Lancaster out of my head and tried to tread water for as long as I could. 6 months later, our engagement ended, and a friend who knows absolutely everything about me looked at me and said, “you should move in with me. It could just be the change that you need.”

I said a bold "yes." Forgetting that my bank account had barely enough money for a shopping spree let alone rent and a security deposit.

In June, we found a place.

In August, I moved in.

And here we are, September 15, 2015. I've been here exactly one month, and I have not stopped to breathe. And I don't regret it at all! I'm doing audience services for PRiMA Theatre, which was the best leap of faith I could have taken. I've transitioned from working part time in a theatre (Shout out to my State Theatre family! I miss you guys!) to working full time in a boutique as a stylist (getting paid to suggest clothes to people? Absofreakinglutely up my alley.) And this time next week, I will have started training at my new full-time job at the American Music Theatre as a box office associate! A job in my field that I LOVE and that I'm darn good at too!

I have had one day "off" since August 15th, and honestly, as someone who has [regrettably] taken pride in being a bit of a slacker, I'm enjoying stretching myself thin. (Although I'm exhausted beyond words.)

But sometimes being busy is an excuse to not focus on the hard parts of transitioning.

In the last two months, I've had my heart broken, I've had to wrestle with issues of race in the outside world and where/if I fit into those hard conversations, I've been misjudged, argued with, and have argued with myself about my own intentions, convictions and integrity. All of these things are hard to deal with. And then add moving on top of them! I was a mess! I still am. And that's okay.

Admitting that you're a mess (yes, YOU), is the first step to recognizing where you are in life. My roommate has this little window decoration that says "Your beautifully messy complicated story matters. (tell it.)" and I'm pretty sure that's become our motto over the last few years. It's ok to feel lost. It's ok to not know what's coming up even if you have it seemingly altogether. Even though I might seem "set" career wise for now, I'm anticipating more changes and transitions coming up. Because that's the way life works. 
You can't avoid change, you can only react to it the healthiest way you can. Maybe for you that means having someone "on call" who you can vent to--a friend, mentor, or therapist. Maybe that means a visit home to see your mom and have her make you a good home-cooked meal. Maybe that means going on a dating hiatus and figuring out yourself. Maybe (UGH) it means deactivating Facebook and digging into the Bible or a good book study. Maybe it means getting a dog or a cat!

Figuring out what you need to do to keep yourself intact is the only way to survive transitions. Everyone copes differently, but I'm confident that you cannot and should not do it alone. I have my Council of women who I can go to whenever life gets scary. And as weird as it might seem, I'm finally seeing that my mom is one of them. Your mom is less intimidating once you get into your 20s. Trust me.
Having people who know you and that you trust is essential, and super helpful. I'm thankful for all those people in my life; without them I would have drowned in an ocean of uncertainty. Everyone's story is different, and that's what keeps the world so beautiful. We connect over the mess, over someone saying "you too?? I thought it was just me!" Be vulnerable. Surround yourself with like-minded people. 

So, all that to say: change is hard. But it's inevitable. Deal with it the best way you know how.

If nothing else I've written sticks, remember this:
Your story, changes and transitions are important. They're messy, but that's ok. So are everyone else's. They matter, but more importantly, you matter.

Hold on, everyone. We are all in for one heck of a ride!

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