I have a new theory. This theory, completely unproven by science or anything remotely resembling a method, is as follows.
Any major life event takes a minimum of 2-3 months of adjustment time.
This is based purely on personal experience, and can be applied to just about anything. Going to a new school? Give it 2-3 months to get comfortable. Moving? 2-3 months. New relationship? Wait 2 months. Or 3. I’ve never found anything to settle more quickly than that, and some things take much, much longer. My thinking is that new things, or getting things, takes less time than does loss. For example: you might take 2 months to become comfortable with a new girlfriend, but getting over an ex-girlfriend might take a year.
I’m not sure what causes this phenomenon, nor why it lasts precisely that long. What I imagine is that the first month or so is learning the ropes of something and the second is adjusting your feelings and/or actions accordingly. In an overly simplified version, let’s say you’re just starting to use the subway. (It’s not a major life event, so let’s assume it takes less time.) First you figure out your route, then you start taking it and realize that if you actually want to be on time you’ll need to get the train 15 minutes earlier than expected. Or that you’ll need a newspaper or iPod to not be achingly bored.
Speaking as a girl who quit soccer after a day at age 5, I understand the appeal of bailing on something when it doesn’t seem to be working. That being said, I have to think that if this 2-3 months of adjustment time is necessary, then splitting before you’ve given something that much of a chance isn’t fair. I’m not saying you have to date whoever you happen to meet for 2 months before you split – maybe you just don’t like them. I’m saying that thinking you want something and finding it’s harder or different from your expectations doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve made the wrong choice…it might just mean that you’ve not yet adjusted.
When I studied abroad, I loved Wales instantly. There were a few problems with finance and housing, but they were fixed pretty quickly. I assumed I was just in the right place, felt comfortable, and wasn’t particularly worried. It wasn’t until I’d been there two months that I realized that what I’d thought was being comfortable was more of a happy newness rather than genuine relaxation. Sometimes it’s harsher than that – sometimes the first few months of something making you want to tear your hair out. But that time, for me, it just went from being kinda okay to being genuinely okay.
Do you agree with the 2-3 month premise? How do you deal with new situations?