December 2017 marked a period in time that I was closing one life chapter and being hopeful for my new beginning. This is when I left my career job to start a new life with my husband whose career takes us to different countries for 10 months at a time. I was eager and excited, but I was also mourning my old self. As I stepped into this new role I had so many questions of who I was in this new chapter: who was I as an educated stay-at-home wife? What was I suppose to do here? I was a rosey-eyed newlywed, eagerly looking forward to my new adventure but what I didn’t see coming was the exhaustive process of starting over and the mindset shift I had to embrace so that I could flourish in this new journey.
Up until this point, my identity was attached to my achievements. From all of the awards I acquired from childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, I embraced what it meant to do my best and overcome challenges. I was (and to some degree still am) a textbook overachiever. I was also Miss Independent. I was my own woman. I made my own decisions and I pursued my own goals. This lifestyle worked very well for me.
Then life took a beautiful turn. I met my now husband. We dated. We traversed the world together. We realized we wanted to be together forever so we got married. It was a true fairytale. Then, I put in my two-weeks notice and experienced an identity crisis.
I left a career that I loved to start a new life with my bestfriend. As I stepped into this new role I had so many questions of who I was in this new role, more importantly…
Where do I start?
I didn’t know. The thought drained me. I spent a month in our new foreign land adjusting. I googled my former self to see if any of my former accolades could give me a glimpse of something to work with as my new self—a self that Google didn’t yet recognize. This proved useless because it only reinforced that that chapter was closed. It was at this point that it become real to me that I was tasked with rebuilding my life in a new country and rebuilding my identity as a new Mrs.
Tired and overwhelmed. I simply started. I got out a pen and paper and got acquainted with myself again. I was stripped of all of the awards, the job titles, the societal pressures, and the familial pressures because in this new space I was just Melinda. But this was a harder question to answer because I hadn’t realized how I had lost pieces of my identity along the way in pursuit of someone else’s bottomline. As a result, I got as raw as I could and answered these three questions:
What talent did I believe I was meant to share with the world right now?
What legacy did I want to leave behind for my family?
What three things have mattered, and will matter, to me the most?
These questions helped me find my inner courage and motivated me to get moving on establishing a home life for both myself and my husband in a new country. Starting over is not easy. Having to do it every 10 months in a new country is even harder. However, starting with these 3 questions helped me find the courage to start. It also gave me the motivation to pursue this new beginning with enthusiasm and open-mindedness. I was now in a mental space to openly receive what this new chapter had for me. I was no longer afraid to work from a blank canvas but instead I embraced the new freedom life granted me. I became excited for what I was capable of doing and being in this new space. The sky really was the limit here. Having no barriers I was going to be my only downfall. There are times that I am scared, overwhelmed, or frustrated with having to start over. But I simply refer to these three questions to be reminded of my foundation. This gives me the energy I need to persevere through the many obstacles.
We want to encourage you to spend some time with yourself to get acquainted with who you are at your core. What forgotten parts of you have been pushed aside as life’s demands tried to get the best of you? What will you nurture back to life for your new beginning?
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