The links between grief and change

I’m sat in my dining room, just under four weeks before I move to London, looking out of the patio doors and I feel an overwhelming amount of sadness. This isn’t new. Since making the decision to leave my house and everything I know and chasing my dream of living a life on my terms and travelling, this has happened a lot.

That’s the thing they don’t tell you when you go to chase your dreams, or you make a big change in your life: sometimes the things you once took for granted become sources of sentimentality, and the very things you’re looking to escape regain their appeal.

It honestly feels a lot like grief.

And here’s the thing.

I’m pretty sure that grieving is an essential part of any change.

I left my job because it wasn’t making me happy. It was a job that a couple of years ago, I would have bet the winning lottery ticket on it being my dream job.  But it wasn’t, and I grieve that loss of something I had my heart set on.

I moved into this house thinking that I’d be in it for years to come, and my children would grow up in this house. I spent a lot of time making it beautiful and making it ‘us’. I looked forward to the family life.

I’ve spent the last two months wandering around my house knowing that I’m giving it all up. I’m giving up a lot of my personal space, personal possessions, and what I thought would be my dream lifestyle.

I do know that I’m gaining a lot more by leaving, but sometimes it’s hard to see that. I’m living somewhere surrounded by people I love and things I love, and sometimes I feel bad in wanting to give that up.

What works for you

But there’s one thing I’ve come to learn about myself - I only like stability if it’s short term and I can see I have options. The minute I think that something’s going to be the same way for a very long time, I start to feel trapped.

A lot of people around me don’t get that. I think they want what most families want - stability, security, comfort and same-ness. Sure, adventure is fun, but it comes with risks, the unknown, and unpredictably.

For the first time in my life, I’m not rigidly planning for what’s coming round the corner. I know travelling is on the cards, but we haven’t got firm plans. I don’t know if I’m going to be working when I get to London, and what job I will have.

I don’t know how I’m going to feel living a couple of hours away from my family and friends, especially when I’ve got a lot going on at home at the moment.

I don’t know what the future’s going to hold for me. I might decide to move to a different country. I may not. I might decide to live my life as a nomad. I may come home desperately wanting a family.

The thing I cling onto in moments like this is that the catalyst for this big move was wanting a drastic change in my life. I’m craving for more of the same right now, but it’s the same that’s been keeping me up unhappy at night.

But the dreams I’m chasing are the ones that keep me up at night, too excited to sleep. And that’s worth remembering.

Hold onto your dreams

So if you find yourself grieving while you’re making a big change in your life, hold onto the reasons why you’re making the change as tight as you can. And believe that everything will turn out just fine.

Because it will.

And no dream is worth giving up on, even if the road to your dreams is bumpy, full of twists and sharp bends. Because that road? It will take you to places you couldn’t have dreamt of, and sights and people you’ll remember all your life.