All of us have encountered situations where we feel something is just slightly off or is not working. It is a nagging feeling, hard to put into words, but it’s clear that something is not as smooth as it once was. It could be in a relationship, returning to our childhood home, or a friendship that seems to be changing.
Recognizing this moment and accepting it for what it is can help you to move beyond the moment and take actions if necessary.
Recognizing you don’t fit anymore
Arriving back in the US for our first visit in 2 years has been a bit overwhelming. We’ve loved re-connecting with our friends and catching up on 2 years of change – new babies, new jobs, and new dreams. But what’s been most surprising is the realization that I don’t quite “feel right” here.
Wandering through the streets of our old Fremont neighborhood in Seattle I’m struck at the familiarity of it all. Our favorite restaurants are still there, my favorite dessert place still only takes cash, and the Troll statue continues to monitor activity under the bridge. It all looks so similar but something just seems off.
I love Seattle. For 2 years of travel I’ve compared places to this city and extolled the virtues of the Pacific Northwest to countless individuals. This is where we were inspired to change our lives and follow our dream so Seattle holds a big part of my heart. To feel slightly out of step with the city is rather disconcerting.
The feeling is subtle and completely unexpected. While everything is familiar I have a sense that I don’t really belong here anymore. I see familiar places and recall great moments or experiences. I see members of my tribe walking in the rain with their layers of fleece and realize that my outfits no longer stick out. Yet still there is a nagging sense that something is out of place.
What the hell is going on?
It’s You That Changed
The truth of course is that Seattle has not changed. It is still the amazing city with a vibe and energy that I adore. The people remain warm and quick to offer a smile. Pedestrians still stand patiently at the crosswalks waiting for the “walk” symbol, regardless of the time. It is quirky, creative, and a place like nothing we’ve found in the world.
What has changed is me. My experiences and interactions while traveling the world have altered my perspective. I’m no longer the same person I was before, which means that Seattle no longer hold the connection to me that she once did. Now I find that the world has changed me such I no longer fit into that place we left 2 years ago.
As we all go through our lives, change is inevitable.
- We meet new people
- We expand our minds through books, conversations, or experiences
- We start new jobs
- We get married
- We have children
Each time we add something new to our lives we open ourselves up to changing how we view the world and those around us. Over the course of time this change can cause us to feel out of synch with others that may not be going through the same changes. We slowly find that our connections with friends seem off or that we don’t feel like our “home” fits us anymore.
As you change it is normal to feel that you don’t quite fit with those around you. Your path through life is not the same as everyone else and you can’t expect that everyone else will change in the same way.
There are times in our lives where we feel things just don’t fit (or, more directly, where we don’t fit). Whether it be with our relationships or our home town we realize something just isn’t quite right and discover that we’ve changed. Embracing this change is the best way to move beyond and begin addressing the out of synch feelings that may be overwhelming at times.
Embrace the Change in You
We all change and grow, which means that our connection with people and places will change. New experiences will allow us to view the world around us in new ways. However, you cannot force yourself to fit into a situation that no longer suits the person you’ve become. You are growing and as a result your attitudes and ideas are changing all the time.
- Realize that your friendships will change over time. Can you really expect that over the course of your life your relationships with friends won’t change? It is bound to happen and being able to accept the change, and talk about it openly, is far easier than continuing to try to keep a friendship in the same place. As your get married, have kids, and change your career who you connect with is bound to be altered. This does not mean that you need to throw those old friendships overboard, but at the same time it may mean you are not as close as you once were. Friendships are always changing, but talking about it can help ensure you all both on the same page and set the expectations for the future.
- Your hometown may start to feel too small. As you learn more about the world, you may find that you don’t quite fit with your home own. You want to live somewhere new and have new experiences. Your hometown will always hold a place in your heart, but it does not always need to be your home. Accepting this can open your mind to living in new places and find a place where you fully connect again.
- Understand that it’s possible that you and your partner may drift apart. As we live our increasingly hectic lives it is possible to become slightly (or possibly not so slightly) out of touch with those closest to us. You feel that you’re not fully connected when you talk. You don’t seem to be aligned on your goals any longer. You seem to be fighting more. Despite living together every day, we can easily be living different lives. The key is recognizing this feeling and do something about it ASAP. Sit down and talk with your partner about your concerns. Let them know you recognize something is off, but you can’t quite tell why. Opening a dialog will allow you to explore together the disconnect and start the process of repairing the gap to get back to being aligned and ready to take on the world together.
Once you identify that you “don’t quite fit” you can begin the process of acceptance. Embracing the changes in your life, and how they came about, can get you on the road to new experiences and rediscovering the joy of “fitting in”.