Happy New Year 2017!

Many folks start out the New Year with good intentions and a list of ‘New Year’s Resolutions,’ which potentially (and almost inevitably) fall by the wayside.

Happy New Year 2017

Happy New Year 2017 Copyright: maxborovkov / 123RF Stock Photo

This year, I have decided not to make any New Year’s Resolutions, but instead, to focus on finding balance in the upcoming year of transition. You may have noticed a hiatus in my postings. Indeed, I fell off of the blogging radar for several months while I was focused on realigning my 9-5 ‘day’ job with my passion (international education).

Transitioning from the world of legal publishing to international student advising required uprooting my family and moving from the Washington, DC area to Pennsylvania. It’s been quite a cultural adjustment for my family. My children have never lived in such a small town!

Relocating has (re)taught me these valuable lessons and provided insights into myself.

  1. Unpacking takes time–slow down! While other family members may feel the need to quickly unpack, I want to take my time so that when I do unpack, I have a permanent place for my ‘stuff.’  I thought we had donated enough ‘stuff’ before moving to help with the transition to a smaller living space, but adapting to my new house is still a ‘work in progress.’
  2. Adjustment require patience. Be supportive! I grew up in a rural (but ‘trendy’) resort town on eastern Long Island. Hence, I am used to slow-paced living. My children, however, are not. My 17 year old has not been reaching out to make new friends. My 13 year old, who is usually the extrovert, complains about missing his friends and not being able to make new ones. {Future post with parenting tips on helping kids adapt.}
  3. Accept that adapting to a new environment/new career is humbling. It can be difficult when you formerly were the ‘go to’ person to now have to constantly ask senior colleagues for guidance. If you ever find yourself in this position, instead of being frustrated, embrace this situation and be thankful that colleagues are willing to provide training/support.  {Future post with tips on surviving a career transition.}
  4. Take advantage of the settling in phase to reconnect with immediate and extended family and friends. In another life, my children hid in their rooms chatting and playing online games with their friends. In our new house, we opted to set up our ‘t.v.’ (in quotes because we don’t have cable — we just use the screen to watch dvds) in the living room instead of in the basement. This has resulted in sharing movies (and binge watching Babylon V television series on DVD) we normally would not have viewed with the children.
  5. Engage family in seeking new places. When relocating, even to a small town, one must learn where to shop, which doctors are good (or not), what activities are available, how to navigate various state agencies (Motor Vehicle usually being the most frustrating one). Ask the kids, for example, to come up with restaurant suggestions for a family night out. Encourage family members to explore new extra-curricular activities, either at or outside of school.
  6. Be patient and keep your sense of humor! Laugh at the pitfalls you’re bound to encounter when settling into a new town, new job, (or, for my kids, new school) and learn from any missteps.

Adaptability is one of the greatest life’s lessons a parent can give his or her child. How you model this quality will help your loved ones in the years to come and hopefully will strengthen your bonds. Stay tuned for future updates to our transition to life in central Pennsylvania!

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