Let's Talk About...Handling (and Embracing) Big Life Changes

5:24 PM

Happy Friday all!!

It's been a whirlwind of a week, guys, but I can now OFFICIALLY call myself Carisa A. Hatfield, J.D.! It feels absolutely AMAZING. The high hasn't lasted long (thanks, bar prep), but nonetheless the accumulation of three years of work coming to head this week has felt nothing short of overwhelming and fantastic all at once.

And that's the subject of today's blog post!

If you know me at all, you know that big life changes are not my strong suit. Even when they're amazing and fantastic and all positivity, I still get incredibly overwhelmed when something major comes along and throws a curveball into the life I know. Am I the only one?

Most of us deal with minute changes in our daily routine all the time. The coffee shop we go to takes our favorite drink off the menu; our normal parking spot is full; we can't find our favorite pair of shoes to match the perfect dress.

But then there are the whammys, the ones we may or may not have expected. Close friends move away; you or your significant other gets pregnant; weddings, funerals, graduating from college, getting a new job. The big things come regardless of whether we anticipate their arrival; and even if we do know they're coming, the moment they arrive can be huge and terrifying and scary. 

Why do new things scare us so much? Most of it, I think, has to do with a fear of the unknown. No matter how positive or beautiful these things are, not knowing what's coming next can bring out the very worst and most vulnerable in all of us. For me, this law school graduation was literally the best day of my life, but it brought out the most intense fears and biggest anxieties I've had in a while. Thinking about the future--one where I wasn't in school and having to face a whole new world that I don't know anything about--was terrifying. 

So the question becomes...how do we handle and even embrace the changes life has in store?

To be honest, I haven't figured out the answer to this question. I'm still trying to figure out how to balance the joy of being a law school graduate and the fear of what's ahead. But I think the answer, for me, lies in changing my perspective. 

The truth is, we can get caught up in only thinking about the future and the cloudy things that are to come. Instead, I think that the best course of action is to live in the moment, moment-by-moment, instead of trying to figure out every detail of things we have absolutely no control over. So for me, instead of focusing all my attention on ten weeks of studying, the bar exam, how things are going to go at my new job, whether I've done the best things I'll ever do in my life--instead, I decided that I would focus on the little things. The arrival of every set of graduation cords. Picking up my cap and gown. Reading over the loving words of family and friends congratulating me on this moment. Hugging my friends. Walking across my city on my graduation day with my family. 

The truth is, the beautiful things that compose each day, the infinitesimal things that we forget when we get swept away by the big things, are the things we should be focusing on. Those are the things we'll remember when we look back at these big moments in years to come. I'll remember more about fitting my cap over my curly hair and not tripping one time at my graduation than I will about all the fear I felt. And that's the most beautiful gift I could give to future me.

How do you handle big life change? Tell me about it in the comments below!



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  1. I'm not good with change. But I'm trying to learn to embrace living in the present moment.


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