The last few weeks have been unexpectedly difficult for my family and me. We’ve been experience a slow buildup of upheavals in our lives.
The first upheaval was rather minor. I was sick and the infection moved to my ear, causing a rupture. This wasn’t a huge deal, but it did throw things off for my family, and result in some difficulties, since it happened just as my son was getting out of school and my husband was winding down for teaching summer courses.
As I was on the mend, my grandmother began needing end of life care. I made the two-hour trip to my parents’ home several times over the course of a few weeks in order to help provide care, and to allow my parents and aunts and uncles to have a chance to rest and go to work. It was a good experience, to help care for my grandmother and spend time with her during the final weeks of her life, but it did cause some upheaval in our lives.
Meanwhile, my husband had been informed that the university would never hire him full time, nor would the department allow him status to work with students on dissertations and theses. The fact that students were requesting his classes and his help contributed to the decision to tell him that, in effect, he would never be more than second-class. So he started looking for jobs. Just as things were wrapping up with my grandmother, he was offered a job at a major university on the other side of the country.
This is the largest upheaval yet. We have very little time available to make arrangements to sell our house, get rid of many of our belongings, and move across the country. It’s stress-inducing. So, how do you deal with these upheavals in a way that makes sense for you?
Going With the Flow
It’s been a little difficult for me to just go with the flow, since I want answers and certainties. The good news is that there are some things that I do know. I know that my husband has a job that he has to start next month, and I know that his new employer will pay for part of the costs of the move. That’s pretty much it. Starting from there is where we need to kind of go with it.
Part of going with the flow for us meant creating a prioritized list of tasks to move in the right direction. First up was securing housing. We looked at various places online, and I enlisted the help of a real estate agent. Outsourcing some of the work made the process easier. We told the real estate agent what we were looking for, and, because of her knowledge and expertise, she was able to quickly find suitable arrangements for us. It was also nice for her to take us step by step through what needed to be done. Being able to outsource some of the effort freed us up to concentrate on other things.
A prioritized list offers a measure of direction, and provides you with a plan. There are many things about our life upheavals that we can’t control. However, by focusing on the things we can control, and making a plan for those items, we are better able to deal with the realities of the situation, and steer the raft a little bit as we head down the stream.
We’ve also been trying to reduce our own worry and stress by reminding ourselves that things are likely to turn out. Part of the reason we feel this way is that we have prepared. We have assets to draw on, and we have family resources to support us during this time. Preparation is a big part of feeling as though you can go with the flow when life’s upheavals get in your way. We recognize that we are fortunate to have been able to prepare ahead of time. Even though we still feel stress, the reality is that it’s easier to go with the flow when you can make a small plan to deal with it, and when you have had some chance to prepare ahead of time.