The Truth About Change

Sometimes change happens gradually.

Sometimes change happens suddenly.

In my case, change happened gradually over a period of a few months, but hit me suddenly all at once like a tidal wave.

Change impacts us all differently.

I pride myself on being honest and transparent here on the blog and in my life, so today I want to tell you a very honest, raw and real story about the changes I’ve experienced over the past several weeks.

Here's the truth about change: it can happen gradually & suddenly, it can be both joyful & painful, and it can crack us open in all the best & worst ways.

Life Has Been a Whirlwind

In the past year, my life has changed very drastically, starting with quitting my safe, full-time job in February to launch my business.

But more recently, change has impacted me on an almost daily basis. To give you some back story, let’s rewind…

July:

  • Moved down the shore for a month, living and working from the beach. Commuted back and forth from New Jersey to Philly once or twice a week to teach yoga and meet with clients.
  • Signed a lease for my first apartment, starting August 1.
  • Met a very handsome boy; went on a first date.

August:

  • Moved back from NJ to Philly; immediately started apartment shopping and by mid-August, moved out of my childhood home and into my own place.
  • Increased yoga teaching from two times a week to four times a week.
  • Accepted a job teaching a PR class at Temple University (note: I found out I was teaching my first-ever college level class THREE days before the semester began).
  • Onboarded my biggest client yet.
  • Started dating said handsome boy.

September:

  • Welcomed and onboarded second biggest client yet.
  • Settled into my apartment, getting used to living alone after 28 years with multiple family members and pets.
  • Taught a college class.
  • Filed for my LLC and brought on my first team member.

So, yeah…quite a lot of change.

At the end of September, I wrote here on the blog about how everything in my life had changed, almost in an instant. I wrote about these changes with such excitement, hope and happiness. Rightfully so and I still stand by those emotions. Change can be a good thing!

However, little did I know, when I wrote that post, I was literally in the midst of that change…and my mind hadn’t even yet had the time to process what was going on.

So color me shocked, when at the end of October, seemingly out of the blue, I experienced my most miserable week yet.

A week where I felt zero motivation. A week filled with emotion and tears for seemingly no reason at all. A week of laying in bed with my heart pounding out of my chest, trying to figure out why I was feeling such intense anxiety.

I emerged from this period of intense change, and all of a sudden, felt like I was drowning.

It All Hit Me At Once

Here’s the moment I knew something was seriously up.

Last week, after a sweaty yoga class, I laid in savasana trying to rest quietly when I heard a little voice inside my head.

“I wish I could go home.”

Tears filled my eyes, as I realized for the very first time since moving out in August, I wished that instead of driving to my brand new shiny apartment that I was driving back to my house…to my family…to what is familiar and comfortable.

But I didn’t do that. I drove to my apartment and I went to bed, but that moment was very poignant and hit me like a ton of bricks.

The Dust Is Settling

My late October breakdown helped me realize that even though I am living through this change on a daily basis…and that even though this change, for the most part, is actually very good and exciting, that it doesn’t make it any less challenging to manage.

As my friend Brittany Policastro wrote in a recent post, “Just because something is what we’ve always wanted doesn’t meant it’s easy. Sometimes receiving is the hardest part.”

During lunch with Brittany the other day, I asked her why she thought this all hit me at once so suddenly. She reminded me that our bodies don’t let us take on more than we can handle. She told me that in the midst of the change through July, August and September, my body knew I needed to keep charging forward in order to stay afloat. Go, go, go. I was in “survival mode.”

Now that the dust has settled and I’m falling into a new normal where things don’t constantly feel so crazy, all of sudden, my body and mind are catching up with one another and BOOM, that’s when the breakdown happened. It makes total sense.

I’m processing.

I’m learning.

I’m settling and grounding.

Why I’m Telling You This Story

Up until now, no one in my life knows I’ve been feeling this way. Literally, no one.

Know why?

Because I felt ashamed to admit that at age 28, I cried in a yoga class because I wanted to go home to my parents.

Because I felt embarrassed to share that even though I am constantly surrounded by people, I still sometimes feel lonely.

Because I felt guilt about complaining and being sad when I have so much good happening in my life.

However, I can’t keep this inside anymore. Know why?

Because I know I am not alone.

This is why I write. This is why I share. This is why we all must share our truths, even when they feel uncomfortable to talk about.

Perhaps your situation isn’t exactly the same as mine, but maybe you’re going through a change right now and you’re experiencing all types of emotions that you don’t quite know how to deal with. Maybe you feel shame or embarrassment about your feelings. Maybe you feel like you have no one to turn to.

I hope this post inspires you to share your story with someone.

To get the words outside of your own head (where we tend to make up stories and drive ourselves crazy) and into the ears of someone who loves and cares for you, who will listen and who can help bring you back down to earth.

If you’re going through a big life change, please know that you’re not alone.

Please know that someone has been in your shoes before.

Please know that there’s nothing to feel silly, embarrassed or shameful about.

Please know that your feelings are valid.

(I share this as a reminder to myself, too)

Moving Forward

While I’d love to rattle off a list of ways to cope with life’s big twist and turns, for once, I’m at a loss for words.

Yes, there are some things I’m doing to make myself feel better, personally. I’m spending at least one day a week working from my childhood home to get out of my apartment. I’m opening up and sharing my story here on the blog; writing this post in itself has felt like a huge release. I’m making time for yoga and meditation.

But ultimately, I’m just moving through it. I’m allowing myself to feel my feelings. I’m allowing this change to feel uncomfortable and sometimes painful.

Sometimes that’s the best we can do, and for now, this is where I am.

Have you experienced or struggled with a big life change? I’d love to hear your experiences and stories. Please leave them in the comments below or feel welcome to email me personally at jessica@jessicalawlor.com. 

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  • Hey lady. Holy wow that’s a lot. I hope you’re feeling better about things. That said, I’ve totally been there. And yes, it’s amazing how lonely you can be when you’re always surrounded by people, I definitely fall into that category. And I’m pretty sure that no matter what age I am I’m going to be partially a hot mess forever. Wait until you read tomorrow’s weekly snippets, the amount of hot mess on Halloween I can’t even explain. Try to enjoy the weekend though. You deserve it 🙂 – also. There’s absolutely no shame in going home. That’s what it’s there for 🙂

    • Yeah, it has been a lot! Eeeks. Yes, it’s so weird! I haven’t really experienced that feeling of loneliness, so it hit me kind of hard. I just read your Halloween post and I can completely understand your anxiety around that experience! Hang in there, too! xox

  • When Jerry and I bought our home, I felt the same way. I had wanted it for SO LONG and thought my life would finally feel like it was starting, but I felt a lot of sadness along with the excitement. It felt like I was living in a strange hotel. My parents live only five minutes away and I wanted to go “home.” It’s been three years now and our house feels like home now. You’ll get there too… just give it time.

    • That’s so interesting to hear! I’m glad to know you experienced the same thing even though you were moving with someone who made you feel like home. I’m glad you’ve come to embrace your home now. Thank you for sharing! xox

  • Sue Lawlor

    Change is a “good thing” Jessica….whether good or bad, change teaches you a life lesson, forces you to deal with life & makes you a stronger person. Too many changes can cause stress & turmoil but dealing with all these changes one at a time will reduce your anxiety & know that you can come home anytime you want & Mommy & Daddy will always be there for you….we love you & will always support you ?????‍?‍?❤️

  • Is this your first time living alone? I grew up with 6 siblings so there was always a crowd wherever I was. It took an adjustment, but now I love my own space and visiting when I can. It makes those moments that much more special.

    • It is! I know that’s why it has been a difficult transition. I’m so glad to hear that you’ve come to embrace your own space. I know that will definitely come with time. Thanks for sharing! xox

  • OH GOSH YES. And I continually write about it on my blog because it’s the way I process my emotions and, even if it was going to make me look silly, I knew I had to be honest about my journey. Moving to college was rough and so was moving to my own place last year. I struggled INTENSELY. And once I started writing about my struggle with change, people started emailing me to say, “Me too. I am moving soon and I am terrified and thanks for helping me feel less alone.” Isn’t it funny how our minds want us to think we are the ONLY ones who ever go through these emotions?! You are definitely not alone and I’m here if you ever need to chat about this – I am all too familiar with the anxiety that comes with big change. <3

    • I would love, love, love to talk to you more about this! I’ll text you later! xox

  • You’re doing a great job! Seriously. Managing everything. Hitting low points doesn’t mean you’re not doing great overall. You should be really proud of yourself <3

    And, ain't no shame in going where you feel comforted. Maybe it's the beach, maybe it's someone's embrace, doesn't matter. (For the record, last nite I drove to my childhood home and cried to my parents. So, I feel ya).

    Sending tons of hugs and lots of light!

    • Ah, thank you, as always! You always know the right thing to say! <3 Love you.

  • Oh man could have written this post. I’m getting married in April and I know the change is going to hit me like a ton of bricks. I’m so ready to get married and have wanted it FOREVER but man at the same time it’s so scary!

    • Ah, yes! I am sure that is a big change and transition to go through. Thank you for sharing that you can relate! xox

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  • Tom Reid

    My daughters are your age, 29 and 26, so I don’t want to depress you further, but I assure you this is a constant life cycle. Even today I feel it. What I can assure you without qualification, however, is that change will happen. Your choice is to direct it or follow it. Following it will always be less rewarding and fruitful. So embrace it. Make positive decisions. If a mid-course correction is necessary, have the guts to take it (I note the boyfriend seemed to disappear from the story). By directing the changes in your life, you will learn to lead and that is always better than being the victim of change you did not manage. IMHO I believe you made some excellent positive choices. Embrace the change. You are doing GREAT!

    • Hi, Tom. Thanks for your comment and for your words of wisdom and support.

      The boyfriend is still very much in the picture. If you click over to my most recent post, you’ll see his handsome face in my collage from the month’s photos 🙂