Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Anatomy of Change

Two major changes occurred in my life in December of 2015. The first was to be told I would more than likely lose my job in an organisational merger; the second was I was offered a NEW job - 1700 km away, teaching a subject I was not only never trained in but also knew very little about! A friend of mine told me "2016 will be a year of changes for you". How the heck did THEY know?!!
Even though one is mentally prepared for
taking on board such big changes, the reality is vastly different. The decision to accept the job requires a move to another location; this in itself is sited as being one of the most stressful things a person can go through after a death and divorce! In the grand scheme of things the move has been peanuts so far - it is teaching a subject I know little to nothing about that is really causing me untold stress.
What does this stress look like? It manifests as a raise in my base heart rate; I also notice my chest is tight and my respiration rate is elevated. I have had little more than 4-5 hours sleep most nights since I decided to take this job and I have so much self-chatter in my head that I sometimes wonder if in fact there are several people living there. I have also lost weight (that's a bonus!), but that's probably due to being actively distracted by cleaning my house, driving umpteen  kilometres delivering my world packed in boxes and not eating when I should.
Someone comes to get the fridge today. This I regard as the ultimate sign of things never being the same and most definitely confirmation that tomorrow I drink warm milk. 
Tonight is my last night in my wee cottage.


It is on the market to be sold and I drive away leaving it empty until such time as someone else decides to love her the way I did. This is the hard part - I loved my wee house. It was perfect for just me and I had many plans to change her and evolve her into a better version of herself in future years, but that will never be realised as I will more than likely never return to live in Timaru again. 
As I come to the end of my time here, I reflect on how it all started. 
I arrived here to teach at the local tertiary organisation on a one year contract. In my head it was only for a year so I rented  a house and lived with very little furniture because "it was only for a year". At the time it was very stressful moving from the Nelson area down to Timaru - a town that I had only driven through twenty years earlier enroute to a wedding in Invercargill. I hated that first year. I knew no one; I didn't even go to Seido Karate (I had trained for twenty years) although I knew if I did I would be "home". Four years later I owned a home, was training at karate and had met wonderful people there; I had friends through work and the gym; and I had a job that provided a sense of satisfaction. It felt like home. It was home.
Things change - that's life - it's how we manage change that matters. As I stand in front of my science students two weeks from now, I know the anatomy of change will once again remind me that there is an end to the physiological responses of stress ... and that will be when I settle in and accept that it is what it is.