Making Changes

June 15, 2006

Shortly after I lost Michele last year I was told by a very dear and very wise friend that I should wait a year before making any major changes to my life. The upset caused by her death to my emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical balance would take at least that long to settle. Fortunately I have a long term work engagement and my apartment lease isn't due until this August 31st.

Recently, however, I have been thinking about making some changes. The new upstairs neighbor has at least one small child who seemingly stomps across the floor all the time. Also the cave like atmosphere given to my apartment by only having north facing windows is depressing at times. The thought of moving is daunting and the need to provide 60 days notice in order to not violate my lease agreement means I have to decide in the next 15 days. I don't to move to another apartment and I don't have a down payment for a house. So I am stuck, so to speak, in my current residence.

Which puts the need for change onto my job. I dislike my job situation but I like the team and the work conditions. The people I work with are great, and I have learned a tremendous amount from them. We generally have fun even though there are some aspects of the engagement that are trying. I know, having had more than one other job in my career, that all engagements are going to have good points and bad. Changing jobs, it seems, is a lot like changing apartments. It's costly on several levels and you have to accept that the new situation won't be perfect. Potentially worse, you have to accept that the new situation maybe less acceptable than the current one. The evil you know versus the evil you don't.

Setting aside moving and changing jobs I find that I still have a need for change. I guess this is the first sign that I am beginning to be ready to move away from Michele. I know in my heart that I can't stay in suspended animation for the rest of my life just to keep a fading connection with her alive. Moving or changing jobs would allow me to blame the move or the new boss for the change rather than accept responsibility for it myself. The real change that needs to occur is acknowledging that my life will go on and that my life with Michele, while it will always be a part of me, is going to fade and have less immediate significance. Wow. It is hard to even write that sentence without stirring up feelings of betrayal.

Moving or changing jobs right now would abruptly stop the process of grieving that I am undergoing and mask my true feelings with the temporary pain of change. The healthier choice would be to keep my apartment and job (for now) and face my need to separate from what my life was and discover what it might be in the future.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.