Shift Happens

As someone who resists even rearranging the furniture in a room, imagine how hard it is for me to deal with a major change.

I am also a person who puts down deep roots in a place, so it is hard for me to pull them up and go to another city or state. The heel marks between Dallas and Omaha, NE when my husband’s job took us there, was not just because I was reluctant to leave my kids. I was reluctant to leave my house, my friends, my church, my comfort zone and go to a strange new place.

The move from Omaha back to Texas was not quite as hard, as I was coming back closer to my kids. Plus, I was going to live my childhood dream of a place in the country and having my very own horse in my very own back pasture, who would greet me in the morning with a nicker when I went out with a cup of coffee.

Banjo did say a cheery hello every morning for the past 15 years, but it was not always a greeting of affection. More often, it was a reminder that I needed to go to the barn and get his hay. He was motivated by food.

Now Banjo is gone, as are all my other big animals. A very nice man bought Banjo, and took the sheep, Marie, who was Banjo’s pasture mate. They will both have a good home with that man for the rest of their lives. He promised they would not end up at market, and a man’s word is as good as gold in the country. So even though I cried when they left, and still get a lump in my throat when I go outside, that grief is tempered with the knowledge that they will be well taken care of.

The animals are gone because I made the difficult decision a few weeks ago to sell my property and move to the Dallas area to be closer to my kids – and closer to doctors that I need to see there.

This has all been very hard emotionally as I waver between thinking about how much I will miss this place in the country, my animals, and my wonderful community of friends in Winnsboro, and believing that this is the right thing to do. It is the right thing to do, and the way some things have fallen into place so quickly, only affirms that for me.

Still, the change is hard and knowing that I am not the only one who struggles with change, I did some Internet browsing and happened upon this article at the Harvard Business Review Ten Reasons People Resist Change by Rosabeth Moss Kanter. She is a professor at Harvard Business School and chair and director of the Harvard Advanced Leadership Initiative. 

The article addresses change in the workplace, but many of the points can be applied to any kind of change.

  • Loss of control
  • Uncertainty
  • Everything is different
  • More work
  • Loss of face

That last one made me pause a moment to see how it applied to my situation.  Kanter explained that:

“By definition, change is a departure from the past. Those people associated with the last version — the one that didn’t work, or the one that’s being superseded — are likely to be defensive about it… Leaders can help people maintain dignity by celebrating those elements of the past that are worth honoring, and making it clear that the world has changed. That makes it easier to let go and move on.

When I move from this place, it will be a departure from the past. My face will no longer be the face of a country woman or Theatre Director at the Winnsboro Center for the Arts. Everything will be different and there is a great deal of uncertainty about what my new face(s) will be.

I know a lot about the importance of rituals in dealing with tough emotional situations. Most of that I learned when I put on a new face as a hospital chaplain in Omaha after leaving my old face as homemaker in Dallas those many years ago. But if I had not made that move, I would not have experienced the growth as a person through Clinical Pastoral Education, as well as the blessings of working in a hospital ministering to the sick. Nor would I have met so many friends in two writers’ groups, most of whom still share contact with me.

So I will perform some good-bye rituals when I am leaving my place and try my best to focus on the future and what adventures will await me down the road.

How do you deal with change? With moves? Is it easy for you, or a challenge on many levels? Please do share, and have a great week.

22 thoughts on “Shift Happens”

  1. Jane St. Romain

    I love this, Maryann. I have moved many times in my life. It has always been rewarding, if sometimes difficult. Collecting friends from near and far is the best part. I imagine you’ll be acting in or directing theater in your new home territory in no time.

    1. Thanks, Jane. So glad you enjoyed the blog post. I hope to be involved in theatre as an actor. Not sure I want the work of directing and producing. Learning lines and character is less stressful.

  2. Oh, so heart wrenching. I was just thinking today how it will hurt me to leave my trees – some I planted as babies and they now tower over the roof. Good luck with your new adventure, pal!

    1. Thanks, Dani. I left those kinds of trees when I moved to Nebraska many years ago. We left the house we built in Plano, where I had planted some saplings. Like your trees, those towered over the house before my daughter sold it a few years ago. She had bought it from us when we came to East Texas 16 years ago.

  3. Nancy Beauchamp

    Love this blog. You will be sorely missed by many, I assure you. I have moved a great many times myself, growing up as an Army brat. We always thought of it as a new adventure, or at least that’s what my Mom told us, so we didn’t complain too much.

    1. Thanks, Nancy. So glad you enjoy the blog and thanks for the words of affirmation. I am clinging to the whole idea a new adventures that await me.

    1. Thanks, Shannon. I will miss Winnsboro and all the great folks here, including the Castorino family, but I will come back for visits.

  4. I’ve moved multiple times in my life too and it was always an emotionalsoup of sadness for the leaving and excitement and expectancy of new experiences. I will miss our times at the Hacks. Yet I understand the time for a shift. Hope to stay in touch. Blessings and heartful appreciation for you, Deborah

    1. Thanks, Deborah. I do hope the Hacks group will continue after I leave. The writers who were there at the last meeting indicated they do want to keep the group going.

  5. Colette Bowling

    I totally sympathize as being an oilfield brat I have moved to many different countries; I think for me the hardest was always leaving friends and family but we always seemed able to make new friends and family members often benefited from our new homes by visiting and learning new customs and languages. Please keep in touch; you will be sorely missed!!!

    1. Thanks, Colette. One of the good things about this move is going full circle to re-connect with friends I have not seen since leaving the Dallas area for Omaha, NE many years ago. Really looking forward to that.

  6. Wishing you the very best in your new adventure. I know how you feel. I’ve been in my house for 40 years and even the thought of leaving gets me upset. Son and daughter-in-law want us closer, and I don’t want to go. So far, I’ve won, but time is a great motivator. I’m sure you will find your niche wherever you are. Safe and happy travels.

    1. Thanks, Polly. The thought of leaving upset me for several years, but more recently the reasons for leaving have superseded those thoughts, especially since I am alone out here in the country. When it was “we” it was easier to feel comfortable out here.

  7. Oh Dear Maryann, you will be missed so much more than you can imagine. As all the others have stated, I too have moved a good bit , but have always continued to keep in close touch with so many dear friends. I know you will as well. You’re an amazing woman and have accomplished so much in your life. Know you will continue to inspire young and old alike. Glad to hear that you will continue Theater Acting, you’re a natural. May God richly bless you always, M

    1. Thanks, Margit. I will come back to visit as often as I can. Don’t plan to just walk away from all my dear friends here.

  8. Oh yes sh..t does happen and I KNOW dad would certainly agree with you. I will write more about this posting you wrote another time…as I could write ‘a lot’ and I may just call you…

    With this in mind, I am praying for you and this new venture. I pray for you to have clarity with our Heavenly Father that you ARE doing the right thing and you will leave one face behind, but just remember the new face you will put on … you have a new world awaiting my dear friend. I will always remember walking down the road towards Highway 81…talking to you, sharing emotions, laughter, and listening to your wisdom. All I had to offer was, ‘look Maryann, that’s where the geese hide out’ and ‘this is where we watch for skunks.’

    Anyways, talking about critters, I feel your pain about leaving your animals. I do not know if mom ever told you about my Poo cat. He died. This is another story. But he went through hell and back and then again!!!! Let’s put it like this…we (Lenny, Scuba, and myself) were on the farm on the 1st of August (he had an appointment in Watertown), and we really enjoyed ourselves, especially mom, of course. However, I wanted to go upstairs, as this was always what I did, that is where my Poo (Mactavish) hung out most of the time. I could not do it. He was buried somewhere on the farm. I could not get myself to even ‘think’ about asking mom where this was. He was my BABY since May 07, 2006. I was in Wyoming, working at the VA.

    I am beginning another story…tired.

    Point being, I feel your pain more than you know!! I did not go to work the following day.

    Animals leave paw prints on our hearts and we never forget what each has done for us…their spirit will always live in us, just like dad up yonder 🙂

    Hoo Yah and best packing, moving, and don’t forget to stop and look to the sky and talk 🙂

    1. Your mom told me about the kitty. So hard when our fur-babies are gone. I just like to think about the good times we shared.

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