Warning! Unknown Territory Ahead!

Photo by Timothy Tarasov on Unsplash

My twin daughters are high school juniors. Our family of four is dancing — or should I say spinning — to the tune of change these days. Not that change is new to us.

These girls have been changing our lives since before they took their first breath and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The day I had my first ultrasound the doctor pointed to the screen and said, “Here’s one head and . . . there’s the second. Congratulations! You’re having twins!” 

Neal jumped up. He couldn’t contain his excitement. He was over the moon. If he had any cigars on him, he would have passed them around. 

I remember getting dressed and excusing myself for a few minutes. I walked into the bathroom – the only place where I could be alone. I stood there for a few minutes, trying to comprehend what had just happened.

I kept breathing, trying to untangle the web of emotions I was flooded with. I was feeling ecstatic, terrified, and everything in between. There was this huge neon sign flashing in my head: Warning! Unknown territory ahead!

At this point, you’d be right to ask, “Well, what did you expect? You were pregnant, right?” 

I know but, you see, I was thinking in terms of ONE child. I thought I could handle one, but twins?? A whole new ball game. I was a corporate executive working an average of 50-60 hours a week. I had worked hard to get where I was and I liked it. 

We had no family living near us. We had been married for twelve years and our relationship was strong. We were now given the chance to really see what we were made of. Fasten your seat belts!

Do you remember the last time change brought you to a standstill?

I’m talking CHANGE as in life happens, good or bad, wanted or unwanted, planned or unplanned. Change comes, broadsides us out of the blue, and before we even realize what happened, we’re airborne.

We tend to forget that we are creatures of habit and routine. The slightest change can throw us off. Watch what happens when you rearrange the furniture, your favorite product is reformulated or how the people around you respond to last minute plan changes. 

When we find ourselves in the midst of change, it’s natural to feel out of balance and vulnerable. How can we take care of ourselves while adjusting to a whole new situation?

After having been through many major life changes, I can tell you that a good first step is to allow yourself to feel the way you feel. Doubting or discounting how you feel, is not productive. You need time to make sense of this change and instead of giving in to unrealistic expectations, try being gentle and kind with yourself.

Instead of looking in the mirror and shaking your head in disbelief, remember that this is just an adjustment period. Everything will fall into place. Time is your friend and you can practice being patient with yourself.

Surround yourself with people who can be there without judging or pressuring you to move at a faster pace that you can handle right now. 

If you need to be alone, make time to be alone. Create space to read a book, listen to your favorite music, meditate, journal, and spend time in nature.

Eventually, you will begin to gain clarity but until this happens, it’s important to make friends with what is.

Most importantly . . .

Be very wary of the voice of dissent in your head. You know what I’m talking about. That little voice with a big punch that whispers to you every time you try to do something differently or take a risk.

”What do you mean you want to do such and such? Are you kidding me? That’s not for you! Give it up!”

You don’t have to believe everything this voice tells you. It usually comes from a place of fear anyway.

Answer back. “I know you’re trying to protect me but you’re not helping. You’re holding me back and I need to do this. I can take care of myself.”

Don’t engage in a lengthy conversation. The voice of dissent is stubborn and needy. Don’t feed it. Let it be and move on.

What is your relationships with change? How have you handled big changes in the past?

13 Comments

  • Melanie

    “Humans are creatures of habit and routine.” If only that weren’t true, Yota!

    Forget about major changes, even the slightest change throws us for a loop. I think one reason might be a feeling of loss of security. When change occurs and my routines are broken, I tend to feel insecure – somewhat out of control. Then I proclaim, “I want my old life back!” 😉

    I moved from California to Arizona last summer and I’m still experiencing the effects of change. I’m still adjusting to my new environment — and resisting the adjustments every step of the way. After residing somewhere for 30 years, it’s not easy to acclimate quickly. I guess that just means I’m human.

    Wonderful post! Love your advice. 🙂

    • Yota Schneider

      Thirty years is a long time. It only makes sense that you’d still feel the effects of the move. One day at a time and before you know it, Arizona will be home. And, yes, you’re human and a beautiful and wise one at that:-)
      I like the point you make about the loss of control and feeling insecure. I often wonder when it comes to habits and routines. Who is in control of whom? Am I in control of my habits or the other way around?
      Thank you for stopping by, Melanie. Always great to hear your point of view. xoxo

  • Melanie

    ” I often wonder when it comes to habits and routines. Who is in control of whom?” That, Yota, is the $65,000 question! And I think I know the answer. 😉

  • Linda Samuels

    Such gems here, Yota! So many great ideas to think about here. Some ideas that are resonating:

    Fear and resistance are often first reactions to change. That’s normal. Honor the feelings, but don’t let them prevent you from moving forward.

    Listen to your needs during changing times. There are no “shoulds.” Be patient as you work through being uncomfortable and unsure.

    For me, when I’ve experienced big changes, I try as best as possible to stay open to different. I remind myself that things are shifting, that transitions aren’t so easy for me, but that I’ve always found a way to navigate and grow despite the fear, despite the challenges, despite the uncertainty. I look for the possibilities of what might be. I view change as an opportunity, even when sometimes I’d really rather things just remain as they are.

    It’s a delicate mix between embracing change “full on,” and permitting some things to stay put.

    • Yota Schneider

      Hi Linda,
      Thank you for stopping by. Yes, fear and resistance are more often than not the first responses to change.
      When we “sit” with these feelings and accept their presence without caving in, their edge softens.
      I loved reading about your response to change. I’m curious . . . Were you always like this or did experience with change transformed your approach? OR, is it both?

  • Ellen Delap

    What a great post! I love the idea of giving yourself time to adjust. It’s so unnatural for us to give change time to sink in, but that’s when change becomes real and workable.

    • Yota Schneider

      Hi Ellen,
      Thank you for joining the conversation. You’re right . . . we get uncomfortable with sitting still and waiting for change to work itself out. And, of course, I don’t mean that we should just sit there and do nothing.
      Being with our discomfort, listening deeply to our inner guidance, and following our instincts when they tell us to move, isn’t “doing nothing.” It’s active participation and it takes strength and faith in ourselves and our life’s purpose.
      There’s a lot more to change than meets the eye:-)

  • Linda Samuels

    Yota- I definitely did NOT always feel positive about change. When I was younger and for much of my early adult life, change was an anxiety producer. But over time, I realized that good things always came about from change. So if I could relax a bit, understand that “in between” was going to feel odd and possibly uncomfortable, that it was worth it. The rumblings just were the indicator for growth and possibilities to come. But old feelings are deeply ingrained. So now when those nervous feelings appear, I can recognize them for what they are, and talk myself through the positive part of feeling them. And…it helps to remind myself to breathe, give self space to feel the transiton, and that things will be ok.

    • Yota Schneider

      Thank you Linda. You’re making a great point about the evolution of our relationship to change. Life experience does matter — as long as we’re willing to refer back to it.
      I also like your choice of words . . . rumblings, deeply ingrained, breathe, etc. These are “physical” words. How correct you are:-) Our body always finds a way to “talk” to us. Physical symptoms become guidance . . . all we have to do is listen.

  • Melanie

    Wow! This is certainly a juicy and lively conversation — love it!

    You touched on something near and dear to my heart, Yota, and to my career of thirty years. I always instructed expectant moms in my childbirth classes to “listen to their bodies in labor because they always talk to us”. For example, if a woman’s body is telling her to sit up in labor, then by all means, sit up! Our bodies never lie to us. 🙂

    • Yota Schneider

      Thank you for joining us, Melanie. I love that you brought your experience with childbirth to us. Because guess what?? Going through transition and coming to the other side — where your brand new beginning is awaiting — is like giving birth or being born.

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