Changing Tides: Opening up to Change and Possibilities

V's baby footprint in the sand in January. Everything grows and changes, and washes away with a new tide.

There are times in my life when I have felt currents of change rippling through my life like a shifting tide that is pulling me in a direction.  I have learned that if I put myself in the right place at the right time, and open myself up to experiences and people, that in an almost mystical fashion, things begin to happen.  These periods of change often come after periods of great internal struggle, or some suffering, or a change I was resisting.  Sometimes, they come after I accept a truth about myself that I had refused to previously acknowledge.  When I am moved by the current, despite the tumult of change, I feel almost at peace when I submit to the gifts of the universe in my life.

Recently, I have experienced some major life changes.  I became a mother.  I left the working world after 15 years and two degrees to be a stay at home mom.  I moved across country with my husband and daughter and left all of my family and friends.  With these changes have come some doubts, some “grass is greener” thinking, some personal revelations, and a good deal of loneliness.  What I have learned through previous experiences with “clumps” of change is that often these feelings are temporary.  Continued momentum through the change often brings me to a place where I can again rest and feel stable and secure within myself.

With every new job, I have experienced trepidation, self-doubt, feelings of inadequacy, but these feelings drive me to learn, to listen and observe, to utilize my intuition, and to quickly grasp hold of my position and find my bearings.  It should have been no surprise that I often felt these feelings as a new mother, but I fumbled through an adjustment period, all the same.  It has taken me a little while to feel comfortable in my new mommy skin, but I feel like I have regained the confidence and trust in my abilities and instincts that I initially lacked.  My wobbly legs have strengthened, and though I do not always know the answer, I now have experience behind me to help me trust that I can face the next situation and do the best I can.  Throughout this journey, moments of indescribable joy have enriched my life. Being a mother is the best and most rewarding experience of my life and while I’ve sometimes doubted myself, I am always thankful and humbled by the gift of my daughter in my life.

Recently, I have struggled with some severe loneliness.  I’ve made a few good friends in my new home, but I have gone way out of my comfort zone trying to connect in this new environment.  I have little trouble public speaking; I have often found myself in leadership roles;  despite all of this, I am a relatively introverted person dealing with some measure of social anxiety, who would much rather spend time with a few beloved old friends then put myself out there to be potentially rejected or judged by a new acquaintance.  But as Yoda says:  “Do or do not.  There is no “try.”  So I continue to put myself out there, as uncomfortable as it makes me, in the hopes that I will find my niche out here.

This past week, after a summer of near solitude, I’ve met four mothers who have initiated fledgling friendship.  Despite some frustration, I kept taking my daughter to places where we’d be able to meet other moms and kids, and finally, I think the effort is paying off.  We also had a nice play date at the park with two dads and their respective sons this week, as well.  Some breakthroughs are being made.  I am hopeful.

Keeping an open heart and persevering in the face of obstacles and change is always a challenge.  Admittedly, I am not always successful at keeping my inner optimist afloat. Yet I find that when I put forth the effort, I yield so much more out of life.  In this past two years of change, I have found my writer self again.  I have had published two news articles, one letter to the editor, and several poems, including one in a recent anthology.  Writing opportunities keep opening up for me, and though so far, they are unpaid, each success is helping build my confidence and experience as a writer.  A new path has opened.

With every ripple of change, every pull of the tide, the natural urge is to wrestle, to fight the current.  I find if I open myself up to the possibility that I might end up somewhere good, and keep treading water, I will be moving.  I will move on, like everything and everyone does.  Everything changes, even loneliness, doubt, fear, if we can keep our hearts open and maintain momentum.  This year, I’m thankful for the possibilities that change has brought to my life and the lessons I am learning about myself along the way.

 

Linking up with Things I Can’t Say for Pour Your Heart Out.

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11 responses to “Changing Tides: Opening up to Change and Possibilities

  • Barbara Purica (@ Footprints in the Sand)

    You have so eloquently put into words everything I have been feeling. Making friends has never been easy for me, so I find myself in solitude most of the time for fear of putting myself out there!

    • pmlevitt

      Barbara, it is sooo hard, right! I am anxious by nature but have found some power in trying things I am afraid of this year. There are some failures but I’m not letting them defeat me! Feels good to keep those fears in check through choices to move through them. Thanks for sharing and reading!

  • Kristin @ What She Said

    I’ve lived here five years now and still don’t have a “niche,” so I understand the loneliness. I find making new friends as an adult to be very difficult. And I think “mom dating” in your 30’s – that is, the act of making new mom friends – is way harder than regular dating was in my teens and 20’s. Of course, I’m an introvert at heart and struggle with insecurities and, as a result, have always had trouble making friends, so I’m not surprised I feel this way.

    I’m currently seeing a therapist to help me sort through some ongoing emotional issues, and he recently said that having a social network is crucial – even if it means stepping outside your comfort zone. Being a working mom, wife, and blogger, most days I just don’t have the energy – when I get some downtime, I want to spend it by myself recharging my batteries. But I also recognize that I’m in a social rut and so I’ve been trying to take his words to heart and look for ways to put myself out there more – even if it means initiating the dreaded and potentially awkward “playdate” with a fellow mom. That’s also the reason I’m interested in joining you guys for open gym.

    I know you’ve struggled to find your footing here at times, so I’m happy you’re finally meeting some new people and forging friendships. I need to take a cue from you.

  • MEL

    I know it’s been hard and you’ve been a trooper. Hopefully things are beginning to turn and your connections will be fruitful!

  • pmlevitt

    It is hard as a sensitive person to put yourself out there for potential rejection or judgment. I have faced both this past year as I’ve tried making friends which has been rough. So I hear you; I’m there with you. And first/beginning play dates can really be awkward; it IS like dating, which is something I never did well…always dated guys I knew and was friends with. But it feels very empowering to try and succeed and even to accept and embrace yourself even when others don’t seem to quite “get” you. That’s a gift to myself I couldn’t have given five years ago…acceptance. Hard to do. Hang in there and we’ll definitely do open gym. 🙂

  • Shell Things (@shellthings)

    I understand completely. We moved two years ago and I still haven’t made real connections.

    Check your local moms’ groups. I had an easier time with younger babies- more playdates and groups to choose from.

  • Jessica@Team Rasler

    Wow, are you in my head? I have had so many of the same changes, challenges, and attempts to overcome the loneliness of it all. I think you and I will have a lot to talk about from here on out. Glad I found you!

  • Megan

    I’ve become way more introverted as I’ve “aged” and agree it’s sometimes hard to find friends and make connections with people. You may think this is weird, but I distinctly remember chatting with you back in 02 (I think) when we first met and thinking… she seems really awesome… I should get her number and maybe we could hang out… and then thinking that you would think I was weird or crazy or something. But I asked anyway, and it was such a great decision! So anyway, sometimes I draw upon that experience when in those situations these days… if we hadn’t exchanged numbers… Brian and I would have missed out on some AWESOME, lifelong friends. I have not been able to find any new friends QUITE as awesome as you guys though. (Seriously, some nice people, but you two are better 🙂 )

    • pmlevitt

      You are making me miss you SOO much! We feel the same; it’s hard to find those friends you click with for life, that’s for sure. Once M’s parents’ visit is over, we need to look at a time to connect:)

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