A few months ago a friend brought the “one month rule” to my attention. When it comes to major life disruptions-breakups, career dissatisfaction, divorce, death-you get one month to moan about it and then your friends get to start tuning you out. She said that even when her mother died, an event that would seem to lend itself to extra time in the grieving process, a month was just about as long as people on the outside of the situation could listen to her cry.
Maybe it sounds a little harsh but I’ve become a firm believer in the one month rule. So much so that I’m trying to institute a firm time limit on how much I’ll let my heart and mind go back and forth on an issue. After 30 days, you’ve said everything you can say, you’ve analyzed everything you can analyze and it’s time to move on. It doesn’t have to mean you’ve gotten over the problem, but it does mean you have to stop dwelling on it.
I’m pretty sure that all my worries and fears about my move are dangerously close to hitting the deadline so Wednesday night I called a friend to get out one last big burst of concern. I can’t stress enough how much I understand, and am grateful for, how lucky I am that there are still some folks left in Boston who I love and trust. Not everyone has that kind of net when they land in a new place and I want to make it really clear that I get it.
I tried hard to be positive but I had managed to work myself into quite a panic over pretty much every aspect of my life-worries about everything from the somewhat sketchy part of Boston I decided to live in, to boy stuff, to that nagging “I just never wanted to live here again” feeling that I can’t seem to kick. I have just felt like I traded being sort of miserable at work to being happy at work and miserable the other 16 hours of the day. All of which combines to make me doubt everything about the real and peaceful confirmations all along the way that this was a good decision for me. My naturally upbeat personality is constantly at war with what is also my natural tendency towards fear and worry. That back and forth can make for a tough time spiritually as a relationship with God is almost entirely dependent on faith.
So my friend and I had a very nice chat and it finally settled into my heart and my brain that God does not communicate through fear. My worried and unsettled feelings are not His way of saying, “wow, you’ve made a huge mistake.” They are completely unproductive emotions that are only serving to make this transition tougher than it needs to be. I kept thinking about the way my parents were so patient and kind when I was such a mess my first semester of college. I’m certain that as some point they must have been tired of all my complaints but they were never anything but loving and supportive. They knew way better than I did that going away to school was the best thing for me and eventually I was going to be OK. I think that’s where I am now with Boston. I still think it’s OK to admit when you are scared and to be attentive when you really do think you might be making a mistake. But for the most part, dwelling on that stuff and constantly second guessing yourself just gets you stuck.
The last few months have provided enormous opportunites for growth, some of which I have taken and some of which quite frankly I think I let pass me by. But I’m learning a lot even when it means falling on my face. I think I'm ready for a little coasting for a bit.
Here is a video that I love, by a band that I love, that reminds me of a night in Boston years ago with a bunch of people that I love. It feels really appropriate.
I'M NOT SCARED!