My Month of Shock + Some Great Advice I Got!

Last Fall I decided to change a few things. I resigned from the executive job that I’d had for 20 years, left the downtown city life of Chicago that I loved, moved across the country leaving friends, a network, my cozy decorated apartment, a bathroom with great lighting, and every ounce of routine I had. And to say I love routine is an understatement!

I was moving back to the state of Virginia, where I had grown up, but to a more remote spot than any place I have ever lived. From the Midwest, all the way to the East Coast, then over a long bridge, onto a peninsula, past a tiny little town, down a super long driveway, to start a new life. I couldn’t believe it was happening. I would finally be with my living with my high school sweetheart who had found me again after 22 years, would be renovating a very dated house on the water with him, training to become a step mommy, and taking the break I had always dreamed about to focus fully on my side hustle, Sweet Sanity, and where I wanted it to go.

The ridiculous course of events that had gotten me to this point convinced me, without a doubt, that this was what I was supposed to do. It was so much change, and I resist change! But I knew faith filled steps were required. The breadcrumbs of ‘what to do next’ turned into huge chunks of sourdough bread on my path, and in disbelief I watched myself gleefully and boldly taking step after step – resigning from work, double checking the numbers of how I could take time off, listing my home on AirBnB, and sipping many goodbye cocktails with the dearest of friends.

I’ll never forget the peacefulness and joy I felt opening my door in Chicago, seeing my guy standing there with his bags ready for our trek to the East Coast. The man I had emailed and skyped for almost two years was here to bring me back East! The first page of our new chapter was being written.

SPLIT SCREEN to a month later, when I was laying on the disgusting blue carpet of our dated ‘someday it will be amazing’ home, sobbing that he should have picked a better woman who could handle all of this change! Mind you, it took a lot for me to lay on that carpet!

I felt like a mess. I didn’t feel like ME. I missed everything about my old life from the tiny to the big, and then felt guilty for feeling miserable at times when I was finally here! Even though I knew what things would make me feel better I couldn’t do them.

“Being with the most fulfilled YOU is in my best interest”, he said, so go back to Chicago and regroup around the people and place you love.

After my first visit back I felt like myself again. Much of the advice was simple, but so critical for me to hear during this time of change.

The snippets of wisdom I received from people I trust were priceless. When I returned I knew these were meant to be shared.


My wonderful friend just smiled at my state. “You were in shock”, he said. HE LIKENED IT TO MOVING A PLANT. It’s happy, getting the perfect amount of light and sun, and loves its shelf. You move it to a whole other part of the house. What happens first? It goes into shock. It sits tight for a bit, until it begins to assess what it really needs…take in less water? ask for more water? This realization made me relax.

When we are going through changes, heaping on guilt that we should feel a certain way or be accomplishing more in the midst of it all doesn’t help. Shock is ok. Laying low and moving slow is ok. Taking it all in is enough.

What happens after shock? “The plant begins to turn its leaves to the light,” he said smiling.


My next friend had only been home one month with her third child. She was running on fumes with little sleep, and said, “Kerry, yesterday I snuck into my room for 10 seconds to eat an Oreo and when my oldest came in I told him to get out! Sleep deprivation is real! So friend, how are you sleeping?”

Things look grim without sleep. Mine had changed. My bedtime routine had changed. The sheets, mattress, pillow, and even being around night lights for the first time instead was entirely throwing me off. We all know sleep is critical, but it was an important reminder that how you’ve been sleeping is a great place to start.


I had done the same commute, picked up the same coffee, and chatted with the same coworkers each morning for years. I knew I needed a great morning routine and thought I nailed it. Up early, meditation, coffee and a nice walk with the dogs. Yep, and by 7:20AM I was rudderless.

A great mentor from years past told me, you need a routine multiple times a day.
Punctuate the day in 3 spots. Your old life had tons of routine, not just in the morning. Making a small mid-day and evening ritual really helps set anchors at other parts of the day planting little seeds of your new routine.


I have always been affected by my surroundings and suspect many of us are. Our house was dated, everything was temporary, and we were going to be renovating, so what was the point? All of that was making it more difficult to feel settled. Being back in my Chicago apartment in a setting that reflected me (and with some encouragement from a friend) I made a decision to return to Virginia and change ONE room to help me transition for now. More on that next time!

Sometimes it can feel really lonely in this world, like we’re the only ones going through whatever it is. Just wanted you to know that I’m rooting for you.

To Sweet Sanity in your head, heart, and home.

Kerry Jean