I’m a coach and consultant who works with individual and organizational change. This last two months I have experienced major changes in my life. And I discovered that I needed to take the advice I have given to others: even when changes are the result of our decisions, when we decide to change, we question whether we made the right decision!
Certainly this thought crossed my mind a number of times as I navigated selling a home of 25 years, moving cities while trying to continue to run my business during a pandemic. I realized that despite my underlying want/need to be superwomen, it just wasn’t possible, perfect wasn’t going to happen, and I not only needed to let go of stuff, I also needed to call for help!
Now, I’ve rested, I’m able to look back and understand the challenges I was pretending didn’t exist. Like, getting rid of stuff, I thought over the winter months I’d done a pretty good job of weeding out clothes I didn’t wear any more, that were too big, or too small. During my move, I realized I hadn’t understood the concept of being ruthless when clearing. And, as I look at my wardrobe I know there’s still a lot more to go, how many of the same top do I need? I’ve made it a mission to wear every summer outfit I have and ask: Am I comfortable? Do I actually like this item? Will I wear it again?
If any of the answers is no, then into the laundry and out it goes, one bag down and another slowly filling. On moving I experienced a shortage of hangers, now I’ve plenty, and I can actually see my clothes. If I like the item, but not in its current form, maybe it’s the fabric I’m attracted to, then I wonder about repurposing it – how can I reuse or update, maybe it’s turning it into something else, or updating it with some new embellishment. Repurposing can be a fun way to preserve memories, and keep stuff away from the landfill.
A Conscious decision:
My move was a conscious decision to change where I lived, and the amount of space I lived in. I had often talked with friends and family about moving, and finally last Autumn, said the time is right. With the updates done on my house, I began the move from an approximately 3,000 sq. ft, 5 bedroom home, to a new smaller space. I had looked at spaces in my new city, I wanted somewhere I could lock up and go, the idea being that I would be able to take off to visit family and friends around the World.
Then COVID hit, and I wasn’t going anywhere, I decided to stay the course, viewings were suspended and that was okay, I was prepared to live in uncertainty for a while. I had made my decision to move, I knew where I was going in the larger sense, I had looked at prices and decided what I could afford, and waited. Then at the end of June, an offer came in, and I accepted. What I hadn’t realized, or rather what hadn’t sunk in was that I would only have 25 days to move! The buyers wanted a quick move in date!
OMG What have I done?
I sold my house. And then realized the enormity of moving after so many years. So after a 48 hour, OMG what have I done meltdown, I got to work. I was lucky and through a friends was able to find a 600 sq. ft. one bedroomed condo that was furnished, so a lot of my furniture, I sold. Beds, sofa’s, tables etc… out they went. Some items were more difficult to let go of, and so they reside in the basement or garage of a friend until I find my ‘new’ space. When will that be… I’m patient, I decided not to jump into the market too quickly, I want to explore my new environment, renting allows me to do that.
What I kept:
My books, many coming with me from Ireland 30 odd years ago, I gave away. I kept most of my business and design books, with a couple of fiction books that made an impact on me such as ‘I heard an Owl call my Name’, by Margaret Craven; a book I mistakenly thought was Canadian, but was in fact from the Pacific Northwest. A book that speaks of indigenous culture, and that first drew me to this country. They, the books, like my stash of wool and fabric are in storage, there’s not sufficient space to hold everything here.
Last weekend I pulled out my bike and took it for a service, this is my city bike, 6 gears and basket in front, pink with flowers painted. I love it and it is perfect for me now as I explore my new area, there are no hills! I will in time find a new road bike and explore further afield but for today my city bike works.
A new space:
Designing a new office space is still a work in progress, many of my files are in storage, I’m slowly going through boxes and finding things that I need, I have space for a small desk, a filing cabinet, that also has my printer, and a storage box that has the essentials – pens/paper etc… and on which I can set my computer when in meetings. Otherwise as today I’m sitting on the small patio outside writing.
What I’ve learned:
One of the lessons is that my mind was ready, even my emotions were ready for this change, I actually wasn’t physically ready, in other words I really hadn’t thought through the actions/changes I would have to make in order to make a smooth move. I hadn’t thought through what 600 sq. ft can hold. I jokingly noted to my Landlady that I was going back to my teens and twenties when I happily lived in less space! But truly I’d forgotten what it could hold! For me that was a huge challenge. Too, the actual physical act of moving, was more exhausting than I could imagine, because although I was emotionally ready, the physical act of moving was challenging in both body and mind. By the time I made it here, I hurt both in body and mind. I really didn’t want to see anyone for weeks!
Now a month later, I love my space, I know that I will probably need slightly more space, mainly for my office – the den I have now is just too limiting. I’m happy here for a couple of months, however I know I should start looking at a more long term home. I rent month to month while the unit is on sale. I haven’t unpacked much other than what I really need, clothes, bedlinen and towels, and a few kitchen items… which in itself begs the question how much of my ‘stuff’ is really necessary? I see more decluttering in my future! The only thing I really miss is my books, I love the opportunity to take a break, pick out a book and read a chapter picked at random.
What about you?
Do you have moving stories, how challenging has it been for you to move, downsize or make a major life change? Or is there a major change coming down the road – what are the challenges you foresee? Do you have a plan? I believe it’s good to make changes in our lives, keep learning, keep moving forward. They don’t have to be major changes, however adding or removing something can be so rewarding. What do you think?
And if you need help making changes in your life – contact me and let’s talk about the support you may need!