When Uncomfortable, Stay: The Truth About Transition

transition

In December 2015, I graduated with a degree I believed in but no job prospects to show for it. I was living in Los Angeles with my new husband, and we were a little afraid of the future. We had wonderful friends, the support of our families, and a great church community, but directionally, life felt ambiguous.

Admittedly, I am a dreamer. I have always believed that if you work hard, care more than anyone, and believe in yourself, then you can have the dream job. I call it optimism, others would call it idealism. But despite the haters, and the many who told me to just go and get a job at Starbucks, I knew there was more for me. I sensed, in the deep parts of my heart that something fulfilling was just around the corner.

Optimism pays off. In one month, my husband and I packed up our 500 sq. feet condo and decided to move back to my hometown in the San Francisco, Bay Area. The dream job was offered to us both, and we knew that this was the right move. It would be hard to leave what had become home for five years, along with our best friends, my husband’s family, and so much more, but none of those changes seemed like too much to handle. We said our goodbyes to the Los Angeles traffic, and said hello to our new home in the foggy Bay.

I cannot tell you the moment or the day, but I remember feeling, a few months into our new life, that I had said yes to something that scared me. I had stepped into the unknown and had removed much of the comfort and normal our lives had grown upon. I knew what coffee shops I loved in LA. I liked what my day to day life looked like there — nothing was new. And here I was, in an incredibly different circumstance, unsure of everything. I was living the dream without the handbook I thought it included.

What if I’m actually terrible at my job? What if I never make friends like the ones I had? What if life never feels normal again? If I miss my life in LA, does that mean I made the wrong decision? Questions swirled through my mind like leaves in the wind, never quite finding a solid place to land. I felt embarrassed for suddenly living in fear when in December, I had worn my hope for the dream job like a badge. This could just be a bad day, not a bad decision. I didn’t want to flee from this opportunity because it was hard — but what if the hard was the sign that it was wrong? But then again, what if the hard was exactly what I needed to stick out? After all, this was everything I had hoped for. This is was everything I had moved my life for.

I didn’t want to flee from this opportunity because it was hard — but what if the hard was the sign that it was wrong?

Through it all I’ve learned that, sometimes, discomfort is the point. We can be so quick to put ourselves in situations where everything feels only normal and right, for the sake of our pride or just because it feels better. Now, almost a year into our new life in the Bay Area, I am more convinced than ever that hard is part of the process. Often, the hard parts are our teachers.

I wasn’t bad at my new job, but being good at it right away wasn’t real. I was so busy putting unrealistic expectations on myself to be the expert that I was missing out on the best experience life has to offer: learning. I didn’t need to make friends like the ones I had, because I had never lost those friends in the first place. (That’s why Facetime exists!) Over time, as wise and loving people in my life told me to breathe and stay in the midst of change, life took on a new normal. A beautiful, life-altering, life-giving, and challenging normal.

We aren’t always giving everything up as much as our lives are just growing in their capacity to carry more lessons. Perspective is everything, and if we can learn to look at the unknown as an exciting adventure, it will become one! Does the difficulty sometimes warrant a shift or going back? Sure! Going back requires just as much courage as it does to stay. I suppose time, and really listening to your heart, are the best ways to tell.

Here is an honest truth about transition: It is really hard. But there lies an even greater, worthier truth beneath: If you can stay when it all feels uncomfortable, and when the change you’ve said yes to starts to hurt, then you will come out stronger, wiser, and ready for anything. So do not be so quick to label the hard in your life as wrong. Be willing to let change really show you how innately resilient you are.

When have you “stayed” through something hard? What did you learn through that?

Feature Image via Elle Daniels

Victoria is a pastor, blogger, and freelance writer who lives in the Bay Area with her husband Reed. She is passionate about womanhood, creativity, spirituality, and learning how to savor life. You can find more about her and read her work over on her website Victoria, Truthfully.

22 COMMENTS
  • Melvina April 12, 2017

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  • Eva January 4, 2017

    Thank you, Victoria. I am just about to start my last semester of college, and I’ve been fearful of the transition. Your point about sticking it out through the discomfort really spoke to me. It helps me look forward to the increase in wisdom and perspective I’ll receive from moving through the scary stuff.

  • Victoria Olmo October 25, 2016

    This touched such a soft part in my heart. I truly needed to read this. My boyfriend & I are in such a transition with full-time jobs, wishes to do something else and dreams of moving across the country to see if maybe what we need is somewhere out there. I was just talking to him about wanting to be outside my comfort zone the other day and what you wrote completely just hits the head on the nail for me. Thank you so very much for sharing. It definitely sparks my bravery into doing what I believe would be the right move.

  • Rebecca October 25, 2016

    Thank you, Victoria! I found this incredibly encouraging. A year ago, I decided to chase my dream of teaching internationally. It’s been so much harder, and so much lonelier, than I thought it would be – and there have been countless times that I’ve questioned my decision to leave my community and what was so familiar.

    “So do not be so quick to label the hard in your life as wrong. Be willing to let change really show you how innately resilient you are.” That’s what I needed to hear today!

  • Mara October 24, 2016

    Thank you Victoria for this poignant and heartfelt article. I’ve always embraced change throughout my life, but recently I felt a heavy burden of the residual effects of divorce in every aspect of my life, and how that transition has been at times unbearable. As you said, “Be willing to let change really show you how innately resilient you are,” was just what reminded me of the beauty of transition and how that’s brought me more self-awareness to help me manage my life more than anything else. Thank you so much.

  • Susie October 22, 2016

    Great post! Having been a military kid, and a military wife, we moved a lot. Always being the new kid, you get used to transition. Now that we’ve been settled for years, there are different hards from being in the same place so many years. I agree that just because something is hard doesn’t mean it’s wrong, and I’ve seen time and time again how those things build our character and cause us to grow. Some of my favorite friends are the new people to town–I look for them as they always have fresh perspectives and stories. One song which helped sum up the sentiments above was Alanis Morissette’s song ‘You Learn’ where she embraces the uncomfortable for the benefits.
    ‘You live you learn, you love you learn
    You cry you learn, you lose you learn
    You bleed you learn, you scream you learn’.

  • Lori October 21, 2016

    Thank you for this. I needed to read this today because I’m in a time where I’m trying to see if this is a stick it out hard or a go back hard. Sometimes taking the time to figure it out may be the hardest part.

  • Priscilla October 21, 2016

    This article is so relatable to me right now. I recently made up my mind to take a year long trip that I’ve been wanting to take for awhile. But with that decision has also come a lot of nerves as the reality of just how hard and lonely it might get set in. You’re so right though, discomfort is the point sometimes. It’s going to be part of this process for me for sure, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be any less amazing and worthwhile. 🙂

  • Bailey October 21, 2016

    This is exactly what I needed to read today. I am currently going through many transitions at once…graduating from school, a new job and a new city. It’s easy to forget that I’m living my dream because transitioning to my new life is so hard and uncomfortable sometimes. I am starting to learn how to embrace the discomfort, but this sure was good reminder! Love your thought that just because it’s hard doesn’t mean it’s wrong. It’s good to know I’m not alone with this feeling — thank you!

  • Chloe October 21, 2016

    This is a beautifully written piece, one that I can relate to on so many levels! Moving away from city life and into the country was, need I say, terrifying. I didn’t know a single soul, but to my core I knew it was what I needed to do. Two years later, and many, many uncomfortable and incredibly challenging moments and obstacles, I am still here, living, breathing, and loving the leap I took into this life. Loving the friends I’ve made, relationships I’ve held onto, and things I have let go. It’s beautiful you see, and I wouldn’t have it any other way…

  • Mary Elliott October 21, 2016

    Thank you for this perspective! I am six months into an almost identical situation, having gotten engaged and moved to SF from SoCal and having to start all over again. It has been hard, but as you’ve alluded to, hard seems to be the soil I need for growth right now. It’s comforting to hear that it’s a shared experience!

  • Tracey Hill October 21, 2016

    I moved from Dallas to Denver last year, a dream I’d had since I was 20, my Children were grown and out of the house, I sold everything, got a new job, met a great man, and made new friends.
    It was wonderful and scary. I was truly happy! I received a call from my Son in Dallas, 10 months after my move, he dropped out of college, quit his job and was battling a serious illness. I made the decision to return to Dallas, I left my friends, job, and boyfriend. I was sad, but triumphant, when I look back, I smile and think to myself I DID IT!
    (my Son has now recovered, back in school, and doing well)

  • Lauren October 21, 2016

    Oh transition! An element of life that’s inevitable and constant, but always breeds such beauty in a person!

    This article/post is one of those “right place at the right time” kind of reads for me!

    Thanks for your thoughts and encouragement! Can’t wait to read more from you at Darling!!

  • Zoe October 21, 2016

    I think I was really meant to read this today. A few weeks ago I moved from my hometown of Denver for a job in France, and it has been so hard. At several points I have convinced myself that this “hard” meant that I had made the wrong choice. I bookmarked this article to read every time I feel down and discouraged about this transition.

    • Victoria Sowell October 21, 2016

      What a transition! I’m so glad this was encouraging! Sending you love and light as you continue to step out in courage. Thank you for reading 🙂

  • Corinne October 21, 2016

    This is a good article, I enjoy your point because it was articulated well. However, I feel that you had your husband by your side (who sounded very supportive) and that probably made things 100x easier than if it was just yourself. I moved from my hometown of Utah to Washington, DC with my then-boyfriend. It was scary but not that tough. Now I’m facing a move by myself to Seattle, WA and I am a lot more petrified. A thousand times more than when my ex and I had relocated together. Just to put things in perspective. I would love to see an article on someone starting over by themselves!

    • Victoria Sowell October 21, 2016

      Thank you for reading! I agree, making this transition without him would have been hard in different ways. Wishing you the very best as you continue to make the transition in Seattle!

    • Victoria Sowell October 21, 2016

      Hey Corinne 🙂 Thanks for your thoughts and for reading. I agree, making this transition without him would have been hard in different ways. Wishing you the very best as you continue to make the transition in Seattle!

  • Marie Therese October 21, 2016

    I love your closing line that just because it’s hard doesn’t mean it’s wrong. That, to me, is golden. Thank you!

    • Victoria Sowell October 21, 2016

      I’m so glad that was helpful! A powerful lesson for me, to be sure. Thanks for reading! <3

  • Natalie October 21, 2016

    Thanks for such a thoughtful and articulate piece, I’ve just moved cities and jobs and this points out a lot of the things I’ve been struggling with

    – Natalie
    http://www.workovereasy.com

    • Victoria Sowell October 21, 2016

      Sometimes, it’s encouraging enough to know that someone else is going through it too. Thanks for reading! 🙂

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