NOTE: This blog was written in 2016, before launching my new blog The Loveliest Balance. I deleted most of my old blogs because I was starting over completely and needed clean space to do so. However, the ones I chose to keep were very near to my heart at the time and still have great importance to me. So you can peek into the old Mel and see how that has shaped who I am now and The Loveliest Balance.
This blog it super personal. It was smack dab the middle of the shittiest time in my adult life. I was leaving South Africa and trying to do so in the best way. I think that this blog is really good advice to my future self every time that I have a life transition- easy or hard. I'm glad that I was intentional about leaving South Africa. Even though it was hard, I think I did it in the best way that I could.
I've experienced some pretty big transitions in my 27 years of life so far. Transitions, change, new seasons, closing old chapters and starting new ones. I've experienced break-ups, moved in with new families, moved across the world, started several new jobs, and many other major shifts.
I've noticed that it can be really hard to enter into new. And I've learned that one of the best ways to enter into a new season in the best way possible is to end the previous season in the best way possible. I've also noticed that I have a tendency to end seasons like a chicken with my head cut off. I don't always do it well. So I am gathering all things I've learned, compiling a list, and really answering the question "how can I leave this season in the best way possible?"
Because even the hardest things in life have a "best way" to be done well.
So really, this blog is for myself in this time, so that I can leave Cape Town well. I am totally writing it so that I can put it out there and take my own advice. And maybe someone else will read it when they are leaving a season and it can be a blessing to them. That would be so cool.
(Yes, this list has 11 items, because 11 is my favorite number and magic happens in 11s. Really)
11 Ways to Transition Out of a Season in the Best Way Possible
- Identify & Deal With the Hard Stuff. No one likes to face the icky emotions they feel... I know for me, it flipping sucks. Currently, I am processing the feelings of fear, failure, embarrassment, and shame. I won't go into details of my process, but know that I'm still working on it. It was good to pin-point what is hiding inside me and call it out. Then, I can work on it, fighting lies with truth, accepting ways I can grow, and choosing to just deal with it rather than let it breed and multiply within.
- Celebrate the Good. Goodbyes can be hard, especially if there are damaged relationships or loss. But I think the good times are worth remembering and celebrating. They were a blessing in that part of life. For me in this time, I'm going to post all the photos I took, thank God for the good times, and choose to remember the moments He blessed me with in Cape Town.
- Learn From It. Lessons are not always easy. I'm smack dab in the middle of this right now. God is teaching me SO much. What I've started to do is keep an ongoing list in my journal of all the things I've learned from this time in Cape Town. God wants to use this season to grow, mature, and sanctify me. I'm so thankful for all He's doing, even if it hurts in the moment. I don't want to miss anything He's showing me.
- Look Forward. I'm such a dreamer that I'm almost always future-focused, so I'm learning how to do this in a healthy way. I don't want to obsess over the future before ending the season I'm in. But I do want to make the basic plans necessary, keep excitement and expectancy for all God has next, and most importantly hold on to hope! The key is finding the balance to do those things and still be present. Something I'm still learning.
- Get Rid of Haters. Okay, I've been SO lucky to not have "haters" much in life. I don't know if God's just blessed me a lot or if people talk behind by back instead of to my face (lol). In this time, I've been so overwhelmed by the kindness and love that people have shown me. I've been praising God on repeat. And I'm seeing how important it is to have positive people and loved ones around you in these times. So I highly recommend only letting those people speak into your life. Don't let haters have a voice and kick you when you're already down.
- Trust God. Oh the lesson I feel like God has taught me so many times and is gracious enough to teach me again. Trusting Him in these times is so critical. You see, God knew this would happen and He knows what will happen next. Knowing that He's in control, and that He loves me, and that His plans are the best, means I can totally trust Him completely. I always find myself needed to step into trust, rather than already being there. Someday, I pray that I live in constant trust, so that it's automatic. But for right now, God is graciously teaching me again, and I am humbly and thankfully learning again, diving into trusting Him.
- Have Accountability. My roommate has been such a huge blessing to me. She's helped me to do this in the best way possible. Since she lives me with, she's aware of my tendency to isolate myself, drown in chocolate and TV shows, and get no sleep at night. Her presence alone has been helping me to not be like that (even if she's unaware of her help). And I've kept in close contact with Hallie back home through this. She's really helped do this transition well. I can't imagine having done it without her. Good friends are so necessary.
- Do Something Symbolic. Okay, this may be weird for some people reading this. But it really helps me. I love symbolic representations, so when I end a season I want to do or make something to represent the shift happening. If it's letting go of something, I'll rip up the letter or give away the old t-shirt. If it's starting over, I'll get a necklace to remind me and mark the new beginning or cut my hair. It can be as simple as starting a new journal or as extreme as getting a tattoo. (Don't worry mom and dad, I won't be doing that ;) )
- Remember Who You Are. The wise words Mufasa said to Simba. But really, it's so important not to lose sight of yourself. For me, I've posted God's promises around my room on post-its, placed my favorite things around my room (unfortunately no cats, my roomie is allergic), and journaled a lot. It's helped me to stay true to myself and remember who God says that I am.
- Offer it to God. This is huge. It's actually something I haven't done often! I waited months after my last break up to give it to God, and that's when healing finally came. You see, God makes beautiful things from dust. He redeems and restores what is broken. He's in the business of transformation. You just have to give it to Him. I want to offer Him this mess I'm in and allow Him to do with it what He will. After all, I want my life to glorify Him. All of my life, even the hard parts. So allowing Him to have it can make space for His glory to shine.
- Make the Most of the Last Moments. I have 28 days left in South Africa. I want to end so well. I want to apply this list to my life. But I also want to remember to have fun, smile, take too many photos, and see God in everything. I want to make memories with the new friends I've met here. I want to do the things I didn't get to. I want to soak up all the possibilities and choose joy in these final moments. I want to finish well.
Let me know if you have anything else that can help me end this season in Cape Town in the best way possible! I really want to do it well, honor God in it, and come back to Casper as a whole, healthy, and ready-for-what's-next person.
Then, hopefully I will be able to focus on the period in between chapters. I will be in Casper resting, communicating with loved ones about what has happened, praying into what's next, and then entering a new season, hopefully in the best way possible. Maybe I'll write a blog on how to do that too. I'm so thankful to be hearing God's voice and walking with Him in this time of big changes. He's the best.