Post seachange – changing for the better

Monday, December 22, 2014 Permalink

Many years ago I worked for a national football club. ‘Twas back in the day when all-things-sporting ruled my life so the job was really quite perfect for me. I was pretty young at the time (deferred from Uni) and we socialised a lot. One day the coach – a lovely guy who shared my interest in basketball – saying he admired how incredibly laid-back I always was.

My closest friend at work was agog. “You must be kidding!”  she said and regaled him and others with tales about my stress-bunny behaviour.

She was right. He was wrong. Of course I was on my best behaviour with him  and others I knew less-well – never letting my stressed obsessive behaviour get out of control. My friend however, knew me far better.

I’ve always been a type A personality. I’m a perfectionist control freak who obsesses and worries about everything – before and after. I’ve tried to be more zen, but it’s kinda who I am so I’ve always just thought the best I could do was to learn to control it.

However… I’ve also been conscious that my life choices haven’t made it any easier. I’ve chosen edgy and high-pressure jobs involving politicians and high-profile initiatives. I’ve monitored emails 24/7 and run around office buildings to ensure that Ministers or Premiers are kept happy. I’ve deferred toilet breaks and holidays – generally putting my own needs after everyone else’s. In the workplace anyway.

And then things changed. I realised life was short and mine wasn’t heading in the direction I’d expected. I was unfulfilled and rather unhappy. Hence the seachange.

Change

Source: geniusquotes.net

Fast forward (well, trot forward at a temperate pace) two years and I’ve now settled into my life by the beach in regional Queensland. I’ve surprised even myself with the contentment I’ve experienced. Sure, I’d like more money and a few changes in my professional life but I’m essentially happier than I’ve ever been.

I tell that to anyone who asks. I tell them that I don’t miss the city, my daily commute, the pace and the frantic nature of my old life. A life where EVERYTHING was so hard!

However… I’m currently back in the city for Christmas and I’m discovering I’ve changed even more than I realised. I’m staying with relations and extended family. We’ve had a few commitments – my SIL’s 50th, niece’s ballet performance and other bits and pieces and (of course) soon there’s Christmas.

And I’ve discovered something interesting about myself. Once upon a time I was in the thick of it. I would have been stressed and rushing about. I worried about stuff incessantly. I was my father’s daughter in that respect. I worried a lot about the little stuff and a bit about the big stuff.

However… that seems to have changed. As those around me have panicked and raced about in recent days I find I’m observing their behaviour with surprise. As they worry about parking, busy-ness, travel and organising crap I’m a bit like ‘whatever’.

It’ll be okay in the end, I find myself thinking.

People who knew the old me will be surprised I’m finding it so easy to step back and not do everything in my power to MAKE SURE it’s bloody well okay.

Changes in our thinking or behaviour are often so iterative or slow we barely notice them and I think that’s what’s happened in my case. I still talk and do stuff at a million miles an hour. That’s who I am, but at the same time I seem to have developed a mute button to shut down that voice in my head.

I feel as if I have more perspective. When in the throes of one’s manic existence it’s hard to see any way out. It’s not uncommon that many of us later wonder why on earth we ‘sweated the small stuff’. And yet we continue to do so.

When I first made my seachange I felt as if I was forcing the zen-like way of life upon myself. It wasn’t who I was. In fact I wondered if I could ever be the person I aspired to be. And yet…. now… I realise I’m on my way there. I may never get there completely, but I’m closer than I used to be. And – hopefully – in a few weeks, a few months and a few years I’ll be closer still.

And that’s all I can ask.

Have you have made small, iterative changes you’ve perhaps not noticed until later?

Joining Essentially Jess for her IBOT linkup.

41 Comments
  • Jess
    December 22, 2014

    Amazing what change and time can do! I think it is awesome that your sea change has done this for you! I notice changes in myself in the way I handle relationships with family, because they are a constant and I have moved away and come back several times I realise I am different when I relate to them (or not) in different ways.

  • @Kanga_Rue
    December 22, 2014

    Does doing a degree over the best part of 8 years count? It felt like forever, but I’ve made a drastic career change that I love, and work is no longer just a means to an end.

    I’m really happy for you!

    • Debbish
      December 23, 2014

      That’s wonderful. I ‘enjoyed’ some aspects of the jobs I had when I worked in government but think the overall lifestyle just wasn’t particularly healthy for me (as a single person etc).

  • Jo
    December 23, 2014

    I finally sat down for just a few minutes the other day & realised how quickly I’d gone from a state of being that I loved into a state of being that was the same as it was a few years ago. Just like that. My bank account is glad I’ve done what I’ve done, but my stress levels & well being will also be glad when I step out again in March (ish).

    • Debbish
      December 23, 2014

      Oh great Jo. As I often say, the money thing is really the only thing which remains problematic for me. I currently don’t quite make ends meet, given some of my hefty bills. Having said that, I’m also conscious I have a lovely apartment and car. I still buy decent wine and groceries but avoid new clothes and pampering treatments etc.

  • Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit
    December 23, 2014

    I love that quote – it feels like nothing changes but when you look back everything is different. Love it! Sums it all up really.
    Merry Christmas!
    Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit

    • Debbish
      December 23, 2014

      I was delighted to have found it cos it summed up everything I meant. I kept wondering if ‘iterative’ was the word I was looking for, but struggled to think of anything different. (The quote was spot-on though!)

      Deb

  • Leisa
    December 23, 2014

    So true deb. Sounds like your sea change has been the best thing. I love the quote that’s it’s only when you look back that you see how far you’ve come.

    • Debbish
      December 23, 2014

      Yes…. and sometimes we don’t take the time or get the opportunity to reflect and discover that. I get so wrapped-up in my everyday life in Hervey Bay it’s easy to forget how far I’ve come. Coming ‘back’ to Brissy has helped in that respect.

  • Char
    December 23, 2014

    There are things in here that I can definitely take away. Like not sweating the small stuff. And believing that it will all work out in the end – and I don’t necessarily have to turn myself into knots to make it so.

    • Debbish
      December 23, 2014

      Ah yes… I put that bit in about stressing about things we later realise didn’t matter cos I did it ALL OF THE TIME. (And I’m sure I do still and will still do it from time to time!) The number of times I had sleepless nights stressing about something re work (etc) and I’d race in early the next morning and deal with the issue and then realise later it was no biggie.

      Of course I’d try to remind myself of that the next time something similar happened but I really found it hard to change my response – while still entrenched in that life!

  • Min (@riteofthemiddle)
    December 23, 2014

    How awesome is that to realise how much more chilled out you are now! It must be good to see the benefits of your sea change and know that you did the right thing for you. 🙂

    • Debbish
      December 23, 2014

      Thanks Min. As I said on FB the other day, I sometimes miss stuff like facials or massages, but after leaving that comment on your post I reminded myself that I’d much rather live my current life (and lifestyle) than be able to afford some pampering treatments!

      I really need to let go of that stuff.

      So it was a timely reminder! 🙂

  • Michelle Weaver (@pinkypoinker)
    December 23, 2014

    It’s strange but I think I’ve calmed down a lot in the last two years since starting my blog. I put it down to trying to see the funny side of whatever happens. It’s definitely changed my perspective. Of course some things don’t have a funny side at all but there is now a better balance. Merry Christmas Deb x

    • Debbish
      December 23, 2014

      THanks Michelle. It’s all about balance isn’t it – and that give and take!

      Deb

  • Erika @ Ever-changing Life of a Mum
    December 23, 2014

    I really connected with your piece. While I didn’t make a ‘sea change’ as such, I did make what felt like a massive decision to leave my high pressured communications job in the middle of the year to focus on my young family. Like you, it’s been the best decision I have ever made. It’s definitely changed my perspective on everything and life feels a lot more balanced now. Sure the extra money from working would come in handy, but what I have got back is worth far more than that!

    • Debbish
      December 23, 2014

      Oh yes Erika – I completely understand and agree!

  • Mystery Case
    December 23, 2014

    I’m attempting our first laid back and hopefully more relaxed Christmas this year. We’ve been in Perth for 5 years now and with family 4000km or more away, I’m finally wondering why I continue to go to so much effort to make the day perfect when it’s just our little family and our girls are a tad older now (13, 15 & 16). I’ve warned the girls things will be different this year, I’m not sure they fully comprehend. They’ve become accustomed to my over the top, especially in the meals department traditions but I’m determined to take things easy this year.

    • Debbish
      December 23, 2014

      Make sure you do it Raych! Christmas can be far too stressful for many and doesn’t need to be! Enjoy!

  • EssentiallyJess
    December 23, 2014

    It’s funny how you can change so much without realising it. I’ve been thinking that a lot this year. I used to be so much more confident and extroverted, and these days I’m not. And in some ways that’s ok, but in others it’s not. I somehow need to work out how to be who I was.

    • Debbish
      December 23, 2014

      You’ve been through a lot of changes too Jess so perhaps you need to give yourself time. Or perhaps you’re growing and changing in a different way – in a positive way that you haven’t yet realised.

      Deb

  • JodiGibson (@JFGibsonWriter)
    December 23, 2014

    It’s great looking back and seeing really how far we’ve come, often without trying. So glad you are closer to zen. Merry Christmas Deb. x

  • Lisa@RandomActsOfZen
    December 23, 2014

    That realization must be a good one, Deb. Isn’t it funny to think that we can become something that we never imagined we had inside us?
    I realized a while ago that if you can’t change it, there’s no point stressing about it.
    Have a lovely Christmas, Deb xx

    • Debbish
      December 23, 2014

      A very good line to draw in the sand Lisa!

  • Ingrid @ Fabulous and Fun Life
    December 23, 2014

    I have consciously been alot more laid back this Christmas compared to normal but I still have a long way to go! The end of one year and the start of another is a great time to reflect back and consider what needs to change and be let go! Here’s to not sweating the small stuff next year!

  • Stephanie
    December 23, 2014

    It’s hard to see what is different when you are in your normal environment, but when you step out of it, the change is noticeable. And even more so when you can see it yourself! Enjoy Christmas with your family!

    • Debbish
      December 23, 2014

      Thanks so much. And you’re right. It wasn’t until I stopped out of my usual environment (into my old one) I realised how much I’d changed!

      Deb

  • mummywifeme
    December 23, 2014

    Congratulations. I can only imagine what courage it takes to leave your job and start afresh. Good for you for realising you were not happy where you were. Reading this post reminded me of myself. I guess you could call me type A and I’ve just spent the first few days of my holidays worried about how something I did last week upset the Minister’s Office. Yep, I’m a public servant. I hope one day I will have courage like you to make a break that is healthy for me. #teamIBOT

    • Debbish
      December 24, 2014

      I can relate to the Min’s Office issue…. I’d go back to government but in a different type of role. (Well, that’s what I tell myself!) But most definitely I’d only work part-time now. It means I have to cut back and may never be able to afford to travel etc but that’s the trade-off for having a lifestyle I enjoy!

      Deb

  • Bec @ The Plumbette
    December 23, 2014

    I’m inspired by your changes and I think we have a lot in common in being stressed if things don’t go to plan but since having Phoebe, I’ve been more relaxed and I’ve been almost forced to let things go rather than strive for something I can’t maintain. I hope you have a fabulous Christmas Deb and a prosperous 2015. X

    • Debbish
      December 24, 2014

      Thanks Bec and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and the family as well Bec. xxx

  • MrsDplus3
    December 24, 2014

    Change can often be a really gradual thing. Over the past four years since our big move I am almost an entirely different person. Some days I amaze myself with it all. Most important thing of all is being happy with it. Sounds like you are and thats fab xx

    • Debbish
      December 24, 2014

      Yes, I said to someone last night I really didn’t think I would adapt. I hoped I would but wasn’t sure!!!

      Deb

  • middleagedmama1
    December 24, 2014

    Sounds great to me! Here’s to a more chilled 2015!

  • hugzillablog
    December 24, 2014

    Oh Deb, what a wonderful post. We made a “treechange” to move just out of Sydney, and whilst I was never much of a stress-bunny (LOL, love that phrase), it’s amazing how much you do acclimatise to the change in pace and adjust your expectations and general approach to life accordingly. It sounds like it has been an important move for you, and a overwhelmingly positive one.

    • Debbish
      December 25, 2014

      Yes, I love that you’re almost kinda forced to change in a sense!

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