The Three Gs of Relocation – Grief, Growth & Gratitude.
Updated: Jan 24, 2022
Nearly four years after moving to the US from the UK, I can look back at a very tough time with gratitude. Relocating to a new area or country can bring many challenges with it, both logistical and emotional.
I recall feeling angry, lost and crying a lot before and after we had moved, but also holding within me I had made a positive choice to move, and knowing it would all work out in the future. Being okay with feeling the feelings was important. If we ignore our feelings, they stay with us and can lead to greater distress or illness further down the line. I wasn’t okay with the emotional roller coaster all the time as it got pretty boring really. For me, I had left older parents, and my father was in a care home, unable to visit us in the US. I was torn between wanting to be part of new things & not knowing if I would see my father again. I had to move through a type of grief around moving to a new country where we knew no one. We left family and friends. I closed my therapy business. We sold our cars, house and a lot of our ‘stuff’. The conflict between leaving what we knew and the excitement of new experiences to come was a challenge. We packed what we could into a shipping container and off we went. It wasn’t actually as simple as this sounds but, in the interest of brevity, I will miss out the oodles of planning that went into our move.
We moved to Raleigh in fall of 2015, to the house we had rented and purchased minimal furniture for. It all looked pretty lost, as did we, I guess. We were wide-eyed at many things in our new surroundings. Our ‘stuff’ arrived a few months later, via a shipping container across the Atlantic. Our ‘stuff’ had arrived! We were buried under a mountain of boxes and excited to see things that reminded us of home. Looking back, we brought too much with us and left things behind that we would have liked. Who the heck knows what you will want in a different country?
The grief encompassed a loss of identity for me – who was I in this different land, with different ways of being and language, without my identity of being a therapist? Did I fit in here? I took some time before I began my Master’s in Mental Health Counseling, as my therapy credentials and experience were not transferable for licensure in the US. My intention had always been to pursue this path. I started it, and hated it. It simply wasn’t for me, at this time, in the US.
So, I was back to not knowing who I was or what I was doing. I stumbled across Raleigh coaching Academy (RCA), whilst trying to figure out where to go from here. It just made sense to me. That was what I wanted to do and who I was. Helping people with their journey moving forward. This was my new path and part of my growth – letting go of one identity and embracing a new way of being, professionally and personally.
Every day has been, and still is, one of growth in the US. We have never been through so many ‘firsts’, be it trying to buy an electric tea kettle (for our much needed tea fixation), to driving on the other side of the road, to picking our dogs up from the airport, to working out how to order at specific restaurants or how to buy a house here. There were, and still are, regular major and minor firsts, all with varying degrees of humor or stress attached. We have much more humor these days, and less stress.
All the new and different random experiences continue in a path of growth for both me and my husband. We are now both in a place of gratitude – for all the experiences we have had, including great ones and some just downright odd - what the heck was the electrical sounding noise coming from the trees? And who on earth puts cream in tea? We are grateful for such wonderful people including us in their lives from very soon after we moved here, and for telling us where to buy good wine and cheese. I am grateful for having found a tribe in coaching and RCA, and for finding a path that I love. We are grateful for the opportunities we have here and are excited to see what happens next in our ‘funny little lives’. Yes, we still have a tea fixation!
Looking back, if I had known coaching was a ‘thing’, I would have worked with one early on to move forward quicker and with less heartache. If you have relocated, and any of this resonates with you, then try working with a coach. Don’t get stuck in feeling lost. Move forward into growth and gratitude.
Laura Haywood is a professional life coach working in the Raleigh area. For more information, or to schedule a free discovery call visit www.laurahaywoodcoaching.com