Am I Going to Be Okay? The Anxiety & Excitement of Transition

Am I Going to Be Okay? The Anxiety & Excitement of Transition

July 01, 2019

Last week I drove with my oldest daughter to Colorado where she was taking her first job as a horse guide and wrangler on a ranch. She graduated college in May, and I seized the opportunity to spend this quality time with my 22-year-old. We had loads of great conversations, miles of quiet time just enjoying the scenery of the West and a lot more country music that I’m accustomed to.

After 18 hours of driving stretched over 2 days, we arrived in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. We found a place to have dinner and enjoy a local IPA or two. Shortly after sitting down, I could see a look on my daughter’s face, and I inquired how she was doing. She opened up and shared that she was nervous and felt anxious. She admitted that she was a little frightened about what was around the corner as she starts this new chapter in her life.

You can expect “anxcitement”

This conversation brought me back to her graduation ceremony just seven days prior, and the commencement speech given by Eric Garcetti, the Mayor of Los Angeles. Among many great points and stories, he introduced the word “anxcitement”. This combination of anxiety and excitement is how he described what the Class of 2019 was likely feeling. I asked my daughter what she thought of his speech and specifically mentioned the new word as it seemed more than fitting to describe her discomfort. I shared with her that I would expect her to feel these feelings and suggested that the juiciest parts of life come with the “butterflies”.

Upon reflecting on her situation, I realized that she had the same fear my clients do when faced with a big life change. She wanted to know, “Am I going to be okay?”

Only a few days later, I was back in Seattle and meeting with clients. And while anxiety and excitement have always been a part of our regular conversations when talking about transitions, markets and goals, I felt empowered with my new word and in no time I could see where I could introduce it.

Will we be okay if we stop working?

One couple I work with retired about 12 years ago. The 2007/2008 market crash impacted their plans, and they made some adjustments. This included taking on part-time work that they enjoyed and postponing a few things such as travel. After over 10 years, they decided they’d like to really reduce the work or eliminate it all together. As I have shared with them in our reviews, they made the sacrifices and adjustments, and now they are prepared to step away from work fully and enjoy their retirement. Much like my daughter felt, they had some anxcitement and wanted to know if they would be okay. As their planner, I assured them that we had a solid plan for which they had done their work, and I encouraged them to embrace the anxious and excited feelings and plan some travel. And that’s exactly what they did.

Will we be okay if I leave my stressful job?

The second client recently decided to leave a high stress job and pursue their dream of moving to a different state where they could leave the hustle and bustle of the city. They shared this desire with me years ago, and I could see the impact the stress had on them. In our many calls and meetings, the question, “Am I / Are we going to be okay?” came up regularly. Leaving a job and moving was a big decision, and we all needed to make sure they had what they needed to make this goal successful.

A few months ago, they finally quit and moved out of state. Recently they came to meet with me. I felt overjoyed when I saw the happiness on their faces as it was very clear that they are enjoying this new chapter. They even showed me pictures of their new home. Like the first couple, these clients also did the hard work. This included saving aggressively and putting off some things. They wanted this change badly enough that they embraced that combination of anxiety and excitement to make the decisions that put them in the best position.

Big decisions include anxiety and excitement

Both the conversation with my daughter and countless client conversations over the years demonstrate the feelings that arise when we are about to make a big decision to reach a personal goal. We need to anticipate that we will feel this combination of anxiety and excitement and be willing to talk openly about our feelings. When you evaluate your choices that serve your goals, you need a plan that passes the “am I going to be okay?” test. Do you have your plan to face your next transition?

If you’re feeling some anxiety or excitement with your financial plan, I’d be happy to talk with you. Feel free to call me at 206-447-1440 or email me at