Getting Comfortable With Change


Sometimes I get so used to where I am that I forget the door is open.  I accept the literal and figurative bars that trap me and don’t bother to explore other options.  I get comfortable.

03-01 Cat

For several years, I’ve dreamed of living somewhere else; leaving this miserable desert.  I’ve struggled to acknowledge the occasional beauty in the vast brown landscape.  I’ve tried to tell myself that being sandwiched in traffic on the freeway with a million other people really isn’t that bad (okay, I know that the entire population of 1.5 million isn’t on the freeway when I am, but it sure feels like it when I’m stopped and staring at their taillights through a thick cloud of exhaust).

I’ve reminded myself that living somewhere else wasn’t an option:  we had eight more years for my husband to get a full pension; my family lives here; my parents aren’t getting any younger and might need me; besides, the kids have a great school and their friends.  Oh, the list of excuses could go on.

When my husband (unfairly) lost his job last year, leaving didn’t occur to us.  We cut expenses and hunkered down in our comfortable place. He found another job fairly quickly – but it’s just a job.  There are no benefits…no vacation, no sick time, no appreciation for a job well done, and no chance for growth.

In January, I got the crazy idea of moving to northern Arizona.  The climate is more to our liking.  There are seasons- not the normal “cold”, “warmer”, “hot” and “miserably hot” that we’re used to.  Since then, we’ve bought a house, sold our house and are preparing for new life in a small town later this month.   This is the only home we’ve lived in since we were married sixteen years ago.  My parents aren’t thrilled with the idea.  It’s more what they don’t say than what they do.  Some friends express envy, while others look at us like we’ve lost our minds and ask, “why?”  We respond, “Why not?”

I’m turning forty this year.  It’s time to be free from others’ expectations.  I’m shrugging off their assumptions that I’m in a mid-life crisis.  I think it’s more of a mid-life realization:  life’s too short to live it tomorrow.  I’m claiming my life as my own.  Selfish?  Maybe.  Maybe not.

As if moving wasn’t change enough, I carried the theme a step further by ending over two years of procrastination and indecision:  I got eleven inches chopped off my hair.

03-01 CatHair

I was excited to find out that my hair was long enough to donate to Locks of Love (I’ve always wanted to do it, but never had the opportunity.)  Perhaps someone else will enjoy it more than I did.

03-01 Hair
Now that’ll give them something to talk about 🙂

56 thoughts on “Getting Comfortable With Change

  1. Eric Alagan March 1, 2013 / 10:53 PM

    As I read this, a concoction of emotions and thoughts welled to the fore. I cannot pretend to appreciate what you are going through or had gone through – but see hints of great joy and light ahead.

    I wish you peace and all good wishes in your new surroundings,

    • jannatwrites March 2, 2013 / 9:18 PM

      Thanks, Eric! I do hope for joy and light, but am prepared for whatever is in store. I appreciate your well-wishes!

  2. pattisj March 1, 2013 / 10:53 PM

    I like your new hair! I’m so glad you have the chance to make some life changes, and you took it and ran with it. I’m so excited for you.

    • jannatwrites March 2, 2013 / 9:19 PM

      Sometimes when I stop and think about it, I wonder if I have lost my mind, Patti 🙂

      • pattisj March 3, 2013 / 1:25 PM

        Or maybe you are about to find it? 🙂

        • jannatwrites March 3, 2013 / 10:10 PM

          Nice thought, Patti. Hope so!

    • jannatwrites March 2, 2013 / 9:20 PM

      😀 Your exuberant response made me smile, Widdershins – thanks!

    • jannatwrites March 2, 2013 / 9:20 PM

      Thanks, Patty! I appreciate you stopping by 🙂

  3. nrhatch March 2, 2013 / 7:33 AM

    Janna . . . Yay!

    Woo Hoo!

    The looks and assumptions you’re facing are similar to those we faced in 1997 (when I stopped practicing law) and in 1999 (when we moved to Chincoteague VA from NJ) and in 2008 (when we moved to FL).

    Accusations of mid-life crisis.
    Comments about “running away.”
    Allegations of selfishness and irresponsibility and . . . failure to conform to the norm. 😉

    It’s not a mid-life crisis.
    It’s a mid-life realization.

    You’re not “running away.”
    You’re running to.

    You’re not turning your backs on “them.”
    You’re looking forward to the next chapter.

    You’re not being selfish.
    You are living your life . . . while allowing “them” to live theirs.

    You go, girl! 😀

    • nrhatch March 2, 2013 / 7:34 AM

      And I like the look of your locks. 😀

      • jannatwrites March 2, 2013 / 9:26 PM

        Thanks, Nancy. Still can’t get used to it, but it hasn’t even been a week yet!

    • jannatwrites March 2, 2013 / 9:25 PM

      Fascinating, peoples’ reactions to our lives and choices, Nancy. I like thinking of it as running to and not away from – especially since there’s nothing chasing us away…except for our desire for change. Our circumstances have just changed enough where the ties that bound us to here have loosened enough for us to think “freedom.” Luckily, the kids are pretty excited about the change, too.

      • nrhatch March 3, 2013 / 5:57 AM

        I’m delighted to hear that the boys are “on board” with the pending changes. Excitement will make things easier as one door closes and the other opens.

        • jannatwrites March 3, 2013 / 10:12 PM

          They were a little disappointed when I offered up the choice: rent an apartment nearby so they can finish the school year OR a week in DC for vacation this summer. Not enough money for both. (They chose DC).

      • nrhatch March 4, 2013 / 7:02 AM

        We went to DC when I was in the 7th grade. So many great sights to see:

        Bureau of Printing and Engraving
        Supreme Court
        White House
        The FBI
        Jefferson Memorial
        Washington Monument

        We also visited Mount Vernon on the Potomac.
        Great trip.

        Your kids chose “new adventure” over “comfortable school” Cool!

        • jannatwrites March 4, 2013 / 9:25 PM

          You’ve listed some things that we had on our list (and a couple I hadn’t thought of.) There’s so much to see, I doubt that three weeks would be enough to take it all in. Thanks for the suggestions, Nancy!

  4. Jonesingafter40 March 2, 2013 / 7:43 AM

    Go! 🙂

  5. chlost March 2, 2013 / 8:03 AM

    You are not only taking control of your life, you are teaching your chhildren a very valuable lesson: embrace life, welcome change, and respect your feelings rather than deny them. Your family will likely become closer as you take on this new adventure. I am a bit jealous. I have been saying that I would like to live overseas, but I don’t want to leave my children and grandchildren behind, and I have only a couple of years until full retirement. I will be working on my courage.
    Oh, and I love your header photo.

    • jannatwrites March 2, 2013 / 9:31 PM

      We’ve tried to include the kids in every step. Although we make the final decisions, we took their input on houses into consideration and we have a choice that we’re all happy with. Living overseas would definitely be an intimidating choice…but I know people who have done it and enjoyed it. I hope you get the courage to make the leap, Chlost!

      I’m glad you like the header photo…I have challenged myself to change the header at the beginning of every month so it doesn’t get boring. So far, I’m on track.

  6. Lance March 2, 2013 / 8:07 AM

    I love self-aware empowering posts like this. You are owning your forty and you’re writing your ass off.

    Congrats on the hair. That’s a lovely gesture. Keep being this inspiring.

    • jannatwrites March 2, 2013 / 9:34 PM

      😀 Thanks, Lance! I feel pretty good about everything at the moment (which is better than the terrified “what am I doing” feeling!) I appreciate you stopping by and offering your support.

  7. Tessa March 2, 2013 / 12:02 PM

    Good luck with the move and great job donating your hair.

    • jannatwrites March 2, 2013 / 9:35 PM

      Thanks, Tessa! My load is a little lighter now 🙂

  8. Debbie March 2, 2013 / 12:29 PM

    GOOD for you! I don’t see this as a mid-life crisis; I see it as you finally gathering enough courage to do something fulfilling for YOU. Others are going to complain, try to make you feel guilty, or whatever. That’s their prerogative. Being an adult means you thank them for their opinion, then proceed to do what you know is best for you. Sounds like a fabulous opportunity (better to do it when the kids are little rather than waiting until they reach high school!). And to think of all the lovely photographs and blog posts we’ll be able to enjoy! So, yes, go for it (and I do love your haircut — how rewarding to be able to donate the excess!)

    • jannatwrites March 2, 2013 / 11:07 PM

      Thanks for your encouraging comment, Debbie! It is a bit scary to go, but there are many things to look forward to. I do hope to capture some different photos, and if all goes well, blog posts will still come to mind. The kids are excited about the move, although they were disappointed they wouldn’t be able to finish the school year here.

  9. bluebee March 2, 2013 / 2:52 PM

    Fantastic! It’s amazing when we shed our fears and do things that we have only dreamed of.

    • jannatwrites March 2, 2013 / 11:11 PM

      Great way to look at it Bluebee! We are thankful things seem to be working out so far.

  10. Colline March 3, 2013 / 5:51 AM

    I say good for you. Hair always grows back (as I can testify to); and moving house? I am sure that you are your husband will be comfortable in your new space. I wish you well in your new home.

    • jannatwrites March 3, 2013 / 10:14 PM

      Thanks for stopping by and offering well-wishes, Colline. You are so right about hair. I have grown it out/cut it off so many times. (But this was the longest it’s been since high school.)

  11. agjorgenson March 3, 2013 / 5:04 PM

    I have found that moving once in a while is good for your soul. It is good to be immersed in strangeness: it engenders patience, hospitality and curiousity. Bravo and blessings! As for the hair, I really don’t have much experience with that change, but I am very happy for your enthusiasm!

    • jannatwrites March 3, 2013 / 10:17 PM

      As a child, I was accustomed to fairly frequent moves. Maybe that’s part of why I’m so restless now? Packing is good for figuring out what means enough to us to take with us. Moving does take patience (which explains why it’s so difficult for me right now!)

  12. Sean March 4, 2013 / 7:13 AM

    This gives you an opportunity that you were unwilling to take before. As for the mid-life crisis thing, I can’t see it as that. I see this as an opportunity to smell clean air for a change and you won’t have to buy those smelly Christmas tree car fresheners because it always smells like that there. Of course, I’m not sure I would leave my windows open to my car as you might find an adorable black and white kitty cat in there and then you would need a lot of the Christmas Tree car fresheners. This will also give you a new chance to explore your mind for your writing more. I remember as kid, riding down a hill of pine needles on a piece of wood. It was good until you couldn’t stop before the tree. Another bright side is you get to see what stuff is important to you and what you don’t need anymore. Even with shorter hair, you still hid your face 😛

    • jannatwrites March 4, 2013 / 9:28 PM

      It should be an adventure, for sure, Sean. Still nervous about it and a couple of hitches came up today, but it’ll work out (I hope :)) Oh, I would never leave my car unlocked/windows down – I don’t care where I lived. We lived in a small town growing up and my parents used to leave the cars unlocked…until we found a lady passed out drunk in our car one day! My dad had to sanitize the car and they were always locked after that. True story…I swear.

      Of course I hid my face – I can’t scare readers away!

  13. suzicate March 4, 2013 / 9:29 AM

    Love your new hair! I just did the same thing a couple of weeks ago. Best wishes to you and your family with your move and all the changes.

    • jannatwrites March 4, 2013 / 9:30 PM

      Thanks, SuziCate. I think it’s fun to change up the hair once in a while (nothing too crazy – like blonde, though.) Thanks for stopping by!

  14. GodGirl March 4, 2013 / 7:34 PM

    It’s been a big couple of months! Well done for ‘shrugging off people’s assumptions’ and doing what you’ve been wanting to do for so long. May it be a wonderful adventure for you and your family as you discover new places and characters. Looking forward to reading more about it 🙂

    • jannatwrites March 4, 2013 / 9:39 PM

      I’m finding that I’m really not that good under pressure, GodGirl. Some days (like today) I just want to say ‘forget the whole thing’ and just stay put. Good thing tomorrow is a new day 🙂

      • GodGirl March 5, 2013 / 1:53 AM

        Well, you’re still very brave. It certainly is – may the new day bring fresh enthusiasm and resolve 🙂

        • jannatwrites March 5, 2013 / 10:07 PM

          Thanks, GodGirl. I’m working to keep my focus on peaceful days ahead.

  15. Imelda March 4, 2013 / 8:17 PM

    What you made were good decisions indeed, including chopping off your hair. Best wishes and good luck. It is always hard to say good-bye but it is also nice to welcome new opportunities.

    • jannatwrites March 4, 2013 / 9:42 PM

      Thanks, Imelda! New opportunities are scary but exciting at the same time.

  16. patriciasands March 5, 2013 / 9:46 AM

    ” life’s too short to live it tomorrow” – say no more! How nice to stumble in here and read of your new adventure. Believe it and achieve it! Best of luck.

    • jannatwrites March 5, 2013 / 10:17 PM

      I’m glad you stopped by, Patricia! This week has been full of obstacles, so your encouraging comment is timely (and much appreciated.)

  17. Sandra March 5, 2013 / 10:27 AM

    I’m super duper happy for you, for making the move, for being okay with change, for take the leap. Sure, there will be uncertainty with all this, but it comes along with trying something new. And I know that you made the decision with a lot of care and thought. I also LOVE that picture of kitty with your hair braid–I almost spit out my coffee reading that caption. AND? Your hair! I know that you you’ll love the new length. It makes everything so much easier, Janna, and you will feel so much lighter and freer. I’m on a long hair streak now, and I wanted to do something different for my 40th bday this year. I thought about getting bangs… Thought about it hard, but I may be too chicken to do it. Think I’d rather go really short (like you) than bangs. Well, we shall see. Anyhoo, I love this post very much!

    • jannatwrites March 5, 2013 / 11:11 PM

      Thanks, Sandra! The cat with the braid is my older son’s orange tabby. We’ve been talking about wanting to move for years, but once we settled on a city, and I found out I could still keep my job, we acted pretty quickly. Of course there have been snags along the way, but we hope it all works out.

      I thought about bangs, but the hair stylist talked me out of it. Probably a good call for me. If you really want a change, you should do it. You have some time to think about it, though 🙂

  18. philosophermouseofthehedge March 5, 2013 / 2:11 PM

    Oh you’re grabbing the adventure! It’s not silly or selfish – it’s wonderful. Best do it now while you are young enough and healthy enough to enjoy it.
    Regrets are no fun later in a barren time when you wonder what if we had….
    That kitty and the pony tail picture is great. I always feel people should reinvent themselves frequently – it just proves you can do it and are resilient. Great for self confidence. (besides hair grows back)
    So applause!

    • jannatwrites March 5, 2013 / 11:18 PM

      I had fun watching the cats check out the ponytail. (Only the one cooperated for a photo.) I’ve had this style of hair before, but it’s been a few years. Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of options for thick, curly hair.

      Thanks for catching up on the latest adventure around here, Phil!

  19. kyliemarie March 14, 2013 / 1:33 PM

    I just came across your blog and saw this.The title stuck me as I have moved a lot in my 22 years. Kind of the opposite of yours but yet the same. Change is sometimes hard to get used to especially when it is so often you can’t get used to it but yet settling in is sometimes hard to adjust to as well. We are settling into a large you are leaving one. We are from a country town in Ohio with about 7,000 people.. I lived in Neptune, it was a country town one mile long. After moving to NC when my hubby was in the Marines, I said I will not live in another little town that’s 2 hours from a real city..I’d go insane. I love having a child in the city though, well suburbia but yet only 8 miles from downtown. It’s a big change for us but it is forever a new experience. I hope you enjoy your new experiences.
    Never let others opinions stop you from doing something you want!

    • jannatwrites March 14, 2013 / 11:32 PM

      I think the right big city would be okay – Phoenix just isn’t it for me! (It was 91 degrees already today…too soon to be this warm!) The city does have a lot of things for kids to do – recreation programs and things like that, but I think smaller towns can be learning experiences as well.

      I hope you continue to enjoy your life in the city, Kylie! I’ve heard North Carolina is beautiful 🙂

      • kyliemarie March 15, 2013 / 3:46 AM

        They can be and they are very tight knit.. Everyone knows you! Which isn’t bad. I hope enjoy your new town too!
        And yes NC is beautiful.. If you ever travel there I suggest the outer banks :)!

        • jannatwrites March 15, 2013 / 10:53 PM

          One day, I will make it back east, Kylie. It may be when I’m retired, but I’ll get there!

        • kyliemarie March 16, 2013 / 4:54 AM

          Nothing wrong with that! 🙂

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