I’ve known since I was ten that major life transitions are particularly hard for me. I think I’ve written about it in this blog before–when I went from elementary school to middle school, I spent about a year irrationally afraid that my parents would fail to pick me up or would just not come home. Freshman year of high school, I freaked out about the time commitment (and running component) of the volleyball team. Being in a play and connecting to an instant network salvaged my freshman fall term of college, and I started having panic attacks in the year after I graduated.
It’s funny, because on the flip side, I absolutely love trying new things. Renaissance Faire in Gloucester? Sign me up. Sailing a schooner? Study in India? Road trip, rock climbing, improv classes, producing a show, touring Fringes? I’m so down.
I’m not really sure what’s up with this. If I had to hazard a guess, I’d say it has something to do with the stakes of the new thing. If it’s temporary or fun or particularly exciting or only impacts a bit of my overall life, I’m all over it. If it has to do with sustaining my life, or is permanent, or has to do with huge changes (for a prolonged period), it’s a little more dicey.
All of this is a way of saying: It seems like this week I should be feeling excited, pumped, a little nostalgic, but mostly full of vim and/or vigor.
Instead, I’ve been nauseous for the past four days.
It turns out that leaving my first salaried job, the one I’ve been at for a year and a half, is weird and hard and makes me existential. The combination of detaching from the place I stay, the people I see, and the things I do for eight hours a day with the blinking-clutching-denying-covers-over-the-head reluctance to let go of comfortable routine makes me feel like I’m the Volkswagon Beetle my mom tried to teach me to drive, stalled in the middle of an intersection while around me people honk and swerve.
And the thing is, I know this is all for the best! I know I can handle this new position, I know I’ll be more engaged in it, I know that this is the right thing at the right time. I just want to pull this (Angry-Birds-themed) Band-Aid off and jump in before my brain catches up. Not sit around with little to do for a week feeling each change drop like a penny into the wishing well of my stomach’s deepest pit.
We’ll get there. One more day, then a last weekend of glorious outdoor Shakespeare, and then I get trained in a new, exciting career and I make jokes about Bollywood movies that my coworkers actually understand. In the meantime, thank you to the people, some of whom are facing their own transitions, who are replying to my texts and who take me shopping to distract me when I feel like throwing up and who cuddle with me and who are excited for me. I have no doubt that soon I’ll be the effervescent, engaged, and entertaining young professional I thought I’d be this week. Til then, I’m going to smile and breathe and trust that when I land, it will be on my feet.