How to come to terms with huge life decision?
July 13, 2014 8:20 PM   Subscribe

The decision has been made, the pros and cons weighed. For one of the first and only times in my life I followed my gut. Why does it still feel yucky?

I am deciding to take a job that is a good opportunity in an area we've always talked about living in that is close to good friends and family. I am seriously mourning what I'm leaving behind, in particular a best friend who lives a few blocks away, in addition to some feelings of giving up on certain dreams and hopes in exchange for officially "settling down". I thought I would have more time before a move, but some pressures are building and good opportinities in the new area are rare. Would love advice from anyone who's been here before. All my mefi questions seem to be about these types of big life decisions, but now it's for real. My heart is broken but I know it's the right decision.
posted by wannabecounselor to Work & Money (7 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I went through something similar when I decided to move abroad. I was giving-up the neighborhood I knew like the back of my hand, a job I was comfortable with, and all of the new things that might have happened if I continued that direction in my life. If I stayed I would have been giving-up all of the new things that awaited me for me on my new path. The new things didn't have the same emotional weight yet that my current life did but giving them up would have had just as much impact.

It sounds like you've weighed this all carefully and decided it's the best thing for you. It's natural to mourn what you're leaving, but you'll keep in touch with your best friend and you'll get caught up in the move and the new job and new activities and won't feel the heartbreak for long.
posted by duoshao at 9:13 PM on July 13, 2014

Yeah, this is a feature, not a bug. Be kind to yourself while your life is thrown into upheaval. Mourn what you're leaving behind even though you know new adventures are ahead.
posted by softlord at 9:32 PM on July 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

Why does it still feel yucky?

Change is not easy. I suggest you just keep your focus looking forward and try not to look back. Eventually you'll feel settled and comfortable in your new situation.
posted by Dansaman at 9:52 PM on July 13, 2014 [2 favorites]

Been there. For me, best decision EVAR. Tell yourself to give it a year and, if it is hell, you can go back. You most likely won't feel the desire to exercise the right you just gave yourself at that point, it'll feel totally natural to be in the new space. Just the fact that there is a bug-out option after a while will give you license to try this new thing out. Good luck!
posted by Foam Pants at 11:05 PM on July 13, 2014 [2 favorites]

Ooooo, you're growing! Change is hard - even when it's your choice, a positive change, the right decision etc there's always something being left behind and you're still going into the unknown (which is scary). My husband really liked Transitions: Making Sense of Life's Changes.

Additionally, I've found giving up some dreams in order to let others thrive to be a very very difficult (and under-acknowledged) feature of no-longer-early adulthood. In the early 20's there's still a sense of "I can do anything, wheee!" that at some point is replaced with "I can do a lot of things, but not everything... what do I REALLY want?" which is a stressful conversation to have with oneself. On top of that it seems to strike at about the same age (um, late twenties-early thirties?) that the repercussions of earlier decisions start to really play out and you're starting to be able to really see and feel the effects of previous choices - which makes current ones feel heavier.

Give yourself time and patience, let yourself mourn the loss and be excited about the new (you can be both at the same time!). I also really like When Things Fall Apart - which sounds depressing but was a huge relief and uplifting read. The thing is, "difficult times" doesn't necessarily mean bad times - positive changes can be equally stressful! (I am looking at you, 32-week pregnant belly!)

I too have made several choices that were both right and broke my heart - including moving.

As for the friend - if at all possible, organize a trip to visit (or for her to visit you, or meet in the middle) now=before you move, and plan it for a few months (6 mo? a year?) after you've moved. You could also schedule phone time (we'll talk every Mon at 6pm, once a month, whatever...), and/or go stationary shopping together and load up on snail mail supplies. The sooner you establish a new routine of correspondence, the better you'll feel. I'm still struggling with my own family on this one, and it seems silly - but it makes a huuuuge difference!

Good luck with the move!
posted by jrobin276 at 11:11 PM on July 13, 2014 [7 favorites]

Sadly, even the right decision can come with negative consequences. That doesn't mean your decision isn't overall a good choice, full of wonderful benefits, and genuinely right for you.

I will help address your one fear - the idea that this is you "settling down ," as though this one decision somehow represents your forever. I have also deeply held (and felt the impacts of) this fear... Until I just forced myself to make the move. The glorious part of being an adult is that, even though I've moved to the "settling down" location, I'm the same person with the same ability to decide, "well, it's nice here , but I'd rather be moving there next year." That is, I'm still an adult capable of driving the direction of my life, changing my mind, and changing course if it doesn't work out. I guess... Don't be afraid of settling down; make choices that are smart, don't settle, and adjust as needed along the way. You are strong enough to do that.

Good luck!
posted by samthemander at 11:26 PM on July 13, 2014 [2 favorites]

"All great changes are preceded by chaos"

That's a sign I have in my house. Sometimes when I think of it, I substitute the word "pain" for "chaos".

A dear friend of mine will be moving away from her sister who has MS. She said, "I will never be ready to leave. But I have to go, for my own family."
posted by trinity8-director at 10:58 AM on July 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

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