How do you deal with change?

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spottedowl
not a newbie
Posts: 34
Joined: Thu Nov 05, 2020 7:51 pm
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Awesomeness Quotient: I love learning about ecology.
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How do you deal with change?

Unread post by spottedowl »

So I just came out of a really rough period in my life. People in my family got cancer (mom,aunt, cousins, uncle) during the COVID lockdown which lead to a lack of opportunities in healthcare aka my chosen career field (cause mom didn’t want COVID at home) had to deal with poor grades and extreme lack of motivation to achieve my career goal of going to med school. I feel like I’m finally coming to terms with, accepting, and moving past all this crazy stuff. I feel supported by friends, family, profs, the counseling center. I’m taking it slow and not stressing but also planning for my future in a way that makes me happy. :lol:

But...fact is I’m not the same person I was two years ago. If nothing else I feel that people in my family getting cancer and watching them pull through it (or not in some cases), has given me more life perspective in terms of “what really matters” then half the people my age. Also...my 14 year old friendships, and other classmates are not the same people they were 2 or 4 years ago. They haven’t changed that much, (still super close) but things have changed. I’m working through all this with counseling and a LOT of journaling.

It literally feels like I’m Sleeping Beauty waking up from a 2-3 year nap, and realizing that-well everyone else in the “castle” wasn’t sleeping. They were out living their lives. And although nobody has it all figured out yet (does anyone ever...somehow I think not since life throws curveballs), my friends, parents, literally everyone is a little different than how I remember them. It’s like-what happened/when did this happen/and just general confusion? :| :cry: I feel like I’ve gone from someone who couldn’t recognize herself in the mirror-personality wise, to someone who knows who she is again, but who are all these other people/when did they get here? Like reading a really nice book with a 30-50 page gap in the middle, then it starts up again and you are like “What? I don’t understand the story anymore?”

And as ecstatic as I am to finally be working towards my goals, hopes and dreams-I also feel sad for missed opportunities. Some of the sadness is out of my control like the cancer. Some stuff like bad grades or not building my resume was kinda my fault. So I feel melancholy? Like there’s the same sort of poignant feeling you get at a graduation or funeral or wedding-this sort of bittersweet sense that a chapter in your life in my case college has gone by, and you are never going to get it back. So you sort of mourn, gather up the life lessons, and start anew, if that makes sense. Remake yourself in a good way.

So...how do I keep doing this? How do I keep the good things:rediscovering my interests and personality/cultural identity, my extremely close friend group, my interesting classes and opportunities and everything else funny, nice, and just plain good, while leaving the bad? I feel like I’m at a crossroads where I can either go forward even though there’s no small amount of work, passion, and drive to put in. Or I can stay back and mourn the past, while slowly burying myself in memories, which is about the same thing I’ve been doing for 2 years...but I want to move forward now.
Urna
scarleteen staff/volunteer
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Re: How do you deal with change?

Unread post by Urna »

Hi spottedowl!

Congratulations on steadily moving forward from what sounds like a horribly overwhelming phase in your life. It's clear that you've thought quite carefully about yourself, your needs, and your surroundings, and that's very inspiring to see. Your Sleeping Beauty analogy is quite apt; most of us who've had our lives come to a standstill because of a crisis feel that way once things finally settle down and we can fall back in step with our peers, who've changed irrevocably while we've been gone (as have we ourselves). I'm glad to hear that you've been journaling and getting some counseling as you deal with these changes and try to remake yourself. You learnt so many important life lessons during college, despite the missed opportunities, and these lessons will have such an integral role to play in your future.

How do you keep doing this, you ask? I'm not being facetious when I tell you to just keep doing what you're doing, because you're doing all the right (and sustainable!) things: keeping your friends close, going on rediscovery journeys with yourself, enjoying new opportunities, taking interesting classes, and continuing to be in touch with your feelings throughout. The best way to deal with change is to lean into it, especially after a long period of living in the past. I once lost a professional opportunity that I'd been working a couple years to achieve, and while it was very scary to lay new tracks for myself and burn the old, I also felt a good deal of relief, because I was free of two long, difficult years of the same kind of work, of the same old thoughts everyday, the same trepidation, the same expectations, and the same circle. Although I was ostensibly grieving and going through the motions of burying myself in the memories of my failure, I found myself inadvertently reaching for new things, and actually having a good time when I wasn't self-conscious enough to scold myself for it, because I craved enrichment and novelty, now that I had finally been freed from the shackles of an imagined future. My situation was quite different from what you're going through now, but I wrote that anecdote out because I think you might relate, if not now, then at some point in the near future, to how healing change can be. As difficult as loss is, it can be very comforting to stay within it, and to pick at old wounds, because it's all you've known, for so long. But there is hope in your life now, along with a good amount of freedom, and you have a brilliant support system, and many things to look forward to. Your circumstances are no longer as limiting and bleak as they were two years ago--that's a truly lovely change! Change has brought you a good deal of joy, even though it's the unfamiliarity that is jumping out at you now, instead of the positives. But then again, the very fact that you want to move forward shows that you've recognized the positive side of change, and that your memories don't have the power over you that they used to. It may help to think of change as your only ticket out of a bad place or a bad time. You want that ticket out, and the memories holding you back do not possess the force that change does. Do you think that makes sense?
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spottedowl
not a newbie
Posts: 34
Joined: Thu Nov 05, 2020 7:51 pm
Age: 22
Awesomeness Quotient: I love learning about ecology.
Primary language: English
Preferred pronouns: she/her
Sexual identity and orientation: Heterosexual and Cisgender
Location: Midwest USA

Re: How do you deal with change?

Unread post by spottedowl »

Hi Urna,
Everything you are saying does make sense. :)
I relate to your story of your job-even though it’s different it’s a lot of the same feelings. I think the old bridges I’m burning now were separating me from who I really was and who I want to be. It does feel really freeing not to have to worry about any of the following:
a) being desperately lonely
-fixed that with reconnecting with longtime friends
b)identity crisis about Indian vs Asian identity aka being bullied for 3 months for being “Indian not Asian-so why do you hang out with your East Asian friends” Ugh.
-fixed by connecting with South Asian and Asian student groups on campus and becoming a leader in them
c) Relationship Anxiety because of my mom trying to “find a boy” and outside of close friends, some family and this website nobody really understands the close friendships I have with guys, might be “friends to lovers” but not always.
-fixed my journaling and talking with people who understood where I was coming from, I have much more confidence in my decisions now
d) The fact that I really enjoy school and learning, and usually get good grades, but this interest often makes me odd to other people.
-fixed by simply finding other people on campus who also want to discuss nerdy animal facts and scientific papers for 3 hours straight
So these changes are my ticket out-and I’ll continue to see them this way. Thank you!
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