On Being Caught In Transition + Starting Over
Last October, I was in the middle of what I thought was the best point in my life. I had a physical job doing something important I loved, I was celebrating my one-year anniversary of living in a country I adore, surrounded by great friends, my online work was going well. I was consistently making $2,000 a month – plenty for me to live a lifestyle I was happy with and still work on paying down my debt.
Then I came home to the United States for a visit. My trip got extended – twice. 3 weeks turned into 12 weeks. I lost my in-person job within weeks of giving up freelance clients to spend more time on that job. I lost another freelance client. I started having panic attacks for the first time in almost two years, sunk into a deep depression.
It took until January to feel like myself again. I remember the specific moment, coming home in the early hours of the morning after a night out with friends, laughing, and saying to myself “Wow, I finally feel like me again!”
Things more or less settled down after that, for a few months.
Then, two months ago, shit hit the fan again.
Facebook changed an algorithm and poof! went all of my steady income in 48 hours. I went from feeling like I was on top of my shit to not being able to pay for my rent. On top of that, I had a significant personal drama that led to a not-so-great overall atmosphere.
I gave up my house, housesat and couch-surfed with friends. Clung to the work I still had. Swallowed my pride in asking friends for help. Came back to the States to meet my new niece.
My life is a state of transition right now. I am less than a week from returning to Costa Rica and I’ve signed a contract for a house I haven’t even seen yet, though my friend assures me that it’s exactly what I want. I don’t have the reliable, steady income that I once had. Instead, I have a hodgepodge of “this and that” jobs, $200 here, $50 there, $300 over there.
I am letting people back into my life that I never thought I would see again, learning to let myself love cautiously while also guarding myself against history repeating itself.
I am spending every second possible cuddling my niece because who knows when I’ll see her again and accepting that I’m not going to be able to see everyone I want while I’m here.
I’m spending time thinking about what work I really want to be doing and, more importantly, what I don’t. Choosing projects more carefully, even if all I really want and need right now is cash.
A few days ago I was on the verge of a breakdown. Everything was up in the air. Work. Housing. Friendship. When I was leaving the area. I was a mess, paralyzed by the options because I thought I had so few and none of them were what I wanted.
Then I had a short chat with a friend. She walked me through a short meditation and then, as she always does, helped me to see options where I was seeing none. Reminded me that I have friends who are willing to help me if I just get over myself and ask for help. Told me that I need to open myself up to good things happening, relax into being in transition and not knowing all of the answers. (I rolled my eyes at that. I want answers and I want them NOW.)
She was right, of course.
Once I opened myself up to possibilities, things started happening. I got the house I wanted. I made an active effort to find work and had positive results. The money I needed appeared in the bank. Friends reached out with some fun opportunities. Things I had been thinking about asking for just, well, happened.
I accepted that for the next few months, as I figure out what direction I’m heading in workwise, as I move between houses until I move in to my new home, as I deal with the conflicting emotions created by the meeting of past and present, my life will be in transition.
I will be in transition.
And you know what? I’m starting to think that maybe transition is just another synonym for “growth”.