5 tips for moving with change
The only constant!
This is Clouds Form Over Land, weekly writing about life at sea and going ashore.
I’ve moved across the US six times since leaving the nest, and this latest one has been in progress for over two years.
I was frequently homesick as a kiddo and am often flabbergasted that I’ve had the opportunities and fortitude to spend time in 32 countries during my 31 years.
Traveling on a sailboat throws even the “whens” and “wheres” of the itinerary up into the air, and being outside the US culture I’m accustomed to leaves more opportunities for curveballs.
If there’s one thing I can offer to you dear readers besides sea stories, it may just be tactics for moving with change. Here’s what I’m relying on this season as we build toward life on land:
Practice flexible, daily rhythms that support well-being.
Mine are moving my body, writing, and reading. Each of these can expand or contract given the opportunities and constraints of the day. I’ve found it’s easier to do a tiny bit every day, rather than try to regulate a weekly or monthly habit. I’m more consistent if I allow stretching on the floor to count as a workout, rather than take a day off and “do more later”. Writing doesn’t need to be in a journal and reading doesn’t need to be in a book. The key is to just keep going, and eventually these small acts become a familiar bannister to lean on when other things get wonky or during the inevitable downtime of shifting gears.
Consider the runway.
During rapid change, the next day or hour may be completely in flux. With more predictable shifts, like graduation or retirement, a date may be known for quite a while before giving way to the unknown all at once. I’ve been thinking of this runway of predictability a lot lately as we zoom closer to the end of our sailing journey. We plan to arrive in the Chesapeake Bay prior to hurricane season, which makes for roughly six more weeks of predictability on board. That feels fairly spacious after the uncertainty of some parts of this voyage. Action movies play with building the next move moment-to-moment, and at numerous times our operational capacities have been tested similarly. If possible, I’d like to keep a month's runway out in front of me, but I can cope with less.
Check-in with loved ones.
Extra conversations and connections are a boon when riding the waves of change. Our community can remind us of who and where we’ve been and what we bring to the table. A month or so ago, I asked close friends more directly for support as we make this big shift and I’ve been bowled over by how people have shown up to offer support as we close this chapter at sea and initiate the next. Tip within a tip - make it easy and concrete for others to help by getting specific. For me, that’s been resume reviews, interview prep, and apartment searching tips. Everyone’s busy, but it also seems that everyone wants to help.
I’ve noticed that we get sick if the time after a change is less stressful or more stressful, so resting along the way is crucial. Rest is an expansive category that includes long walks, crafting, watching a silly TV show, cleaning the dwelling, a winding conversation, staring at the stars, and anything else that smooths out our mental and physical hackles.
Plant seeds and clear brush.
This tip feels particularly apt for spring. As our situation changes from known to new, we can tend to it like a garden by alternating between clearing away and planting anew. I prefer to do this synced up to the moon phases - initiating when the moon waxes and clearing away as it wanes. This bi-weekly schedule seems to keep projects from stagnating and I even credit it for keeping our small living space feeling spacious without feeling spartan. I’m practicing this by reaching out to new connections, checking in with friends, and throwing my name in the hat to plant seeds, and then closing off loose ends, finishing projects, and clearing away mental and physical clutter. When situations change, things fall away. We can’t bring everything from the old and still have space for the new.
Free write or doodle about what is changing for you, those close to you, and the community. Bonus topic: how would you like things to change?
Put fifteen minutes or an hour on your calendar for unstructured rest.
Plant seeds by reaching out to someone you’d like to get to know better, someone who is doing something you would like to experience, and someone who could use a little help.
Written in the spirit of not letting what we can’t do get in the way of what we can.
Did you try any of these? I’d love to hear about it.
Thank you for reading, replying, sharing, and supporting monetarily. Every bit adds wind to the sails of this effort!