Wednesday, 1 October 2014

3 lessons learned in the wake of change

So that’s it then, we are in the new house. In the space of a year I have moved from Coventry to Harrogate (140 miles), from Harrogate to the Yorkshire Dales (24 miles), and now from the Yorkshire Dales to the North Yorkshire coast (62 miles). I’ve lived in a city, a spa town, the tiniest of tiny rural villages, and now a spa town by the sea. Granted, some of this change was by choice, it was well planned and executed and whilst still exhausting, we knew exactly what we were doing.

This most recent move, however, was somewhat thrust upon us when our landlord announced his retirement (and need to have his cottage back). In the long run, hopefully, it’s been for the best since we are back on the property ladder as home owners, and I cannot express my joy enough at having high ceilings (no more bumped heads in the morning), and at being able to decorate and adorn as we so desire.

Of course though, it was far from plane sailing, and such trials and tribulations in life are useless if we take no lessons from them. These are my 3 life lessons learned from this little experience:

In times of unexpected change, act quickly

Within a week of being told that we wouldn’t be able to continue to rent our cottage long term we had made a decision not to rent again, secured finance for a house purchase and arranged over a dozen house viewings. There was no time to sit and bemoan the situation we had found ourselves in, we had to act fast or find ourselves in the unthinkable position of having no home, or being forced short term into something unsuitable. Take the bull by the horns, so you didn’t expect whatever life event that’s happened to happen, ask yourself, what are my options? Explore all possibilities and act quickly to mitigate any additional problems that may occur as a result of the change.

Being flexible means we can now live here (Image by Thomas Tolkein)

Be flexible

Our move of house has virtually doubled our daily commute to work, but the trade off is that we get to enjoy our own home and we get to enjoy the beach on our doorstep, whilst benefitting from having our jobs too. Work out what’s important to you, what sacrifices you are willing to make to achieve it and what boundaries you can push. Remember, there is no such thing as a perfect life, but if you prioritise what is most important to you and work with that then you can achieve a life that makes you happy. In being flexible though, and stepping outside of your comfort zone, don’t take on something you know that you will not manage. In the long term, that is a sure fire way to reduce your happiness.

Take time out

Major upheaval and change is stressful in the extreme, and you should never underestimate the effect of stress on your body and mind. Feeling run down, lethargic, open to more colds and flus, snappy, angry, all of the above and more can be attributed to increased stress levels. It’s tempting to think that you have to be ‘on it’ 24 hours a day in reaction to whatever change has occurred, but it’s vitally important for body and mind that you take some time out. Even something as simple as taking a relaxing bath and having an early night, meeting friends for a drink and a catch up, or just dropping everything to read a book can take you out of the stressed 101 things to do mindset and allow you to actually hear what your body is saying. Without these frequent stops, you will never manage the task ahead of you.

We all face change in our lives. Some will be good, some bad, some chosen and some enforced. No matter what though, change will often bring with it opportunity, the key to making the change work for you is to identify the opportunity and make sure that it doesn’t pass you by. Act quickly, be flexible and most importantly, take time for yourself.

1 comment:

Gteconomist said...

One of my Uni of Edinburgh lecturers was a man called Misselbrook. He told us about a rich man who was very unhappy where he was living. "When were you happy?" Misselbrook asked him and got the reply "When I lived in the South Pacific islands. That was paradise!" "And why aren't you living there now?" Misselbrook persisted and the man looked bewildered. "I have commitments here!" this rich man finally said. Misselbrook's lesson: live the life you want where you want, because you can. Few have the courage to do that, but you two do. I admire that.