Don’t panic, it’s just change

A ‘Change’ Reaction

A minor panic attack gripped me last night while I lay cozily on the couch cuddling my blanket and fluffy sheep hot water bottle. My parents and I were watching American Idol and enjoying those tiny jelly beans that come in every imaginable flavour like popcorn, bubble-gum, watermelon, chocolate and even expresso. I felt relaxed, so why this came on suddenly I can only chalk up to my move, which happens tomorrow, and my self-inflicted car trouble the previous night due to accidentally mistaking the bottle of antifreeze for engine oil. I know what you’re thinking…that silly girl did a really stupid thing. But it was dark and late and I was tired and I assumed when I grabbed the bottle and I shouldn’t have and…you’re right. It was a totally dumb move. I immediately realized my mistake when the watery, neon-green fluid splashed into the funnel. If I could have hit the rewind button, believe me, I would have. Thankfully not much got in. I didn’t even know that I had antifreeze in the trunk! Argh! But don’t worry, me and “Silver” (my Honda) are all good now minus $150 for the tow truck and an oil change.

So, while I lay there rooting on my favourite Idol contestants, my heart started to feel like a giant moth beating around in my chest as if I was a front porch light bulb. I sucked in a few slow, deep breaths through my nose to try and calm the fanatical moth. It didn’t work, so during a commercial break I quietly got up, climbed down the ladder into the crawlspace and fetched an old green bottle of tiny Ativan pills. I shook a pill out onto my palm and slipped it under my tongue. It did nothing. I guess its effectiveness was gone after five years. The bottle was labeled September 2013.

This was a minor reaction compared to the major panic attack that I had before leaving on my first solo travel adventure, the 800-kilometre Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in Spain. You can read about it in my blog post titled, The Fear Of Going Alone. That one had me curled up in the fetal position around the base of the toilet all night plus worried that I was headed for an anxiety-induced heart attack. The doctor I saw the next day wrote me a prescription for that green bottle of Ativan. He said, “Take one and go on the journey.” Even though I didn’t take a pill back then, his validation that I’d be okay was encouraging. There’s a little more to that story, but he was right. I was more than okay in the end.

Today, while walking along the residential streets near Victoria, my emotions around my upcoming change presented differently than they did last night. Instead of a crazy moth beating around in my chest, it felt like a heavy weight sat there. A lump also formed in my throat and tears welled in my eyes. I felt like I was losing something although realistically I’m not. My friends will always be my friends. It’s goodbye for a little while and although I am happy remembering the good times and the great people here, especially one very special and encouraging person who I will greatly miss and never forget, I know that things can change. Sometimes they inevitably must.

Grief to whatever degree seems to accompany change. It’s about letting go of what was so you have room for new. Change happens everywhere all the time to everybody, not just to me. Sometimes I need to remind myself, “Don’t panic, it’s just change. Everything will work out. It always does.”

Tomorrow, I leave Vancouver Island for Squamish, although only for a month before I return and then leave again for Toronto in June. What happens after that remains to be figured out. Maybe I’ll come back to Vancouver Island or B.C. or maybe I’ll temporarily venture somewhere else in the world. I’m not sure at all. One thing for certain, though, is that the wheel is turning and change will be my companion into the unforeseeable future.

It’s sad to leave a place which has been home for over three years since December 17th, 2014 when I returned from my solo South American adventure. Right now, it feels like I’m pulling on the loose ends of a bow that has kept my life together. It’s unraveling, but this is what I wanted. I’ve talked about working remotely and traveling for some time. The universe seems to be listening. It handed me an opportunity on a silver platter when I received 30 days notice to leave home at the same time that my UVic contract was ending. It’s really a perfect opportunity to take a leap and put my goal into action. Now, I’m drifting while working remotely so I can prove to myself that I can and, in the process, really figure out where I want to plant my roots or if I’m even ready to.

Although the future seems a little blurry right now, it’s colourful and hopeful and I know that with each step forward the blank pages will fill up with stories, opportunity, and clarity.

Blog Comments

Good luck! Adventures await! Enjoy the ride!

Thanks so much Paul! It’s exciting and a bit scary. From experience, though, it always seems to work out. I’m looking forward to the adventures! 🙂

And how did the journey and migration go (without ativan)? How has the temporary home been for your work and creativity?

“When we resist change, it’s called suffering. But when we can completely let go and not struggle against it, when we can embrace the groundlessness of our situation and relax into it’s dynamic quality, that’s called enlightenment”

― Pema Chödrön, Living Beautifully: with Uncertainty and Change

Hey Stephen! I’ll be updating you soon…hopefully within the next day or two. I have a blog post ready to go on my transition to Squamish and what came out of it. I’m just waiting for a specific image to add to the post. I really love the quote! Thank you. It makes a lot of sense. 🙂

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