Guest post by Sabrina Jugo
Sabrina is a millennial feminist that lives in St. Louis, MO. She is passionate about social justice issues and is currently pursuing her Master in Social Work. When she isn't writing, she enjoys reading, lighting candles, drinking tea, and having passionate conversations with friends about how to make the world a better place.
I recently uprooted myself (and my partner) from our cozy lives in Richmond to pursue graduate schooling across the country. This decision wasn’t one I made lightly for many reasons, but the biggest one was that I was starting to consider Richmond a kind of home. As someone who moved at the difficult age of thirteen, left home to attend college in another state, and moved three times in the past three years, I’ve weathered all sort of transitions. The trouble is, transitioning from one thing to another, no matter what it is, is a challenge. Whether it’s changing jobs or moving cross country to pursue something totally new, changes can feel disruptive at best and debilitating at worst. The past ten weeks or so have reminded me of how hard new challenges can be but have also cemented a few guidelines that are helping me through my transition. I write in hopes that they are something you remember when you experience transitions of your own!
1. Set realistic expectations for your transition.
Not so long ago, my therapist told me that for the average person, transitioning from one city to another takes about six months or so. I’m sure tons of helping professionals and researchers will come up with their own timelines, but I’ve held on to six months. It’s been important for me to set this expectation in my mind because this funny little thing happens when we’ve settled into a routine—our minds completely wipe all of the stress and difficulty it took us to get there. Upon leaving Richmond, where I spent the last two years, I was filled with confusion and doubt about whether or not I was making the right decision. It was a place that felt like home. What I neglected to remember was the near year it took for me to feel like it was any kind of home. I struggled to create a network, keep up steam at a job, and create the kind of life I wanted. It wasn’t until I finally got connected to some wonderful Richmonders (shout out to my boss Seo!) that I really started to feel grounded and secure. The point is, our minds plays these little tricks on us to protect us from the fear of messing up a good thing, all to protect us. A large part of the last few weeks has been affirming and reaffirming that building something new always takes time and that creating the life you want doesn’t happen overnight.
2. Paint a new picture of what your community will look like.
Before moving out across the country to start my program, I was stoked to meet some amazing folks who were going to be “my people”. These people were going to care about the same issues and enjoy delving into social justice-y concepts over dinner, just like me (here are these pesky expectations again!). When I arrived and didn’t immediately find that, I began to blame myself for not thinking my whole decision through and even questioning if I really belonged (more on imposter syndrome in a minute). It was advice from a close friend that helped ground me in the reality of my situation: even though my community was no longer a short drive away, they were still there. They were still my community, they were just a bit more scattered. This advice was like a revelation to me! I had kept in contact with the people who mattered most during my other life transitions and I would do the same now. Maybe I wouldn’t be grabbing dinner and drinks with friends or seeing my weekly movie at the Criterion theater, but I would still be connected to the people that mattered. In many ways, I would be putting some friendships to the test, and not in a resentful, angry way, but mainly in an accepting and loving kind of way. In a lot of ways, it has felt like creating a new community can be so daunting; in another way, I am simply reframing the role that my community has in my life, for now. And that’s OKAY.
3. Impostor syndrome happens to (almost) everyone.
Impostor syndrome is the overwhelming feeling that most people have when after starting something new, you start to feel as though you do not belong, an “impostor”. This can take a variety of forms; in a new job, at a new school, or in a new community where you don’t feel like you connect with others. I think rather than diving into impostor syndrome and what it looks like here, there is one thing I do know: after building slow, intentional relationships, and making connections with others, you start to gather that most people feel like impostors in some way. It just comes in different forms. I may feel like an impostor because I haven’t made strong connections with people that I thought I would, while another person may feel like an impostor because they’ve landed themselves at a high-profile institution and are thinking, how did I even get here? Regardless of the reason, know that your peers or colleagues or loved ones are either feeling what you’re feeling or have once felt it too.
4. The universe has my back.
The most important of these mini-lessons is that the universe has my back. Even in the most chaotic moments of this transition, meditating, journaling, and connecting with my community has made me feel most at peace. A lot of this has been creating an intentional manifestation practice and staying in high-vibration energy, using the tools that Seo and other experts have guided me through. Thinking back to what life looked like at the start of the year, and so many of the wonderful things that I manifested, I know the practice works. It’s not just a matter of staying committed to the process and making an intentional practice out of it. If I can manifest a graduate school acceptance, a kick ass new job with supportive women, and a fulfilling relationship, I can also manifest a smooth transition for myself.
Moving cross country after establishing a community I loved in a place I loved was a difficult choice for me. Transitions may be challenging, but they are also an opportunity for immense growth and growing closer to the self. I am here to carry out my soul’s purpose and know that this chaotic feeling of change is temporary. The four little mantras above have helped me to work through these “big feelings”. I hope they may help you too.
“One of these days you just might look up and realize: oh my word, I am exactly where I’m meant to be.”
Meet Seo Kelleher, an intuitive coach for life and business, committed to empowering women. "I am passionate about helping women find the courage to transform their lives by embracing their vulnerability and taking the responsibility."