Necessary, scary, exciting, overwhelming, sad, upsetting, elating, surprising…all the while, inevitable.
It’s a word that sometimes scares us to death as much as we need to embrace it. It’s a word that makes us question past decisions and causes skepticism for the future. As much as we need it, sometimes it’s the changes that cause us to sit still. Change can blindside us, catch us by surprise or just be the obvious solution to a problem. The biggest issue with change is our inability to accept it with open arms…at least most of us. I especially have a hard time with change, something that has prevented me from maybe succeeding more, but my caution has always helped me avert miscues as well. Why do we change things? Do we have to change things? What if the changes are bad? Is the status quo that bad? I think that stuff every time I must make a decision that requires me to make changes in my life. Sometimes, it’s not the situation that changes, but how I approach and look at it. Change isn’t just physical…metaphysical change is even more profound and nerve-wrecking. I won’t claim to answer questions or make change easier, but maybe shed a little perspective.
Status quo, complacency, rut, the usual, normal schpeel…all words to describe basically that stuck in mud feeling that most of us just kinda accept. Now, I am not saying that it’s all a bad thing, as there is a comfort with things we know and a routine that keeps us sane. Getting up at the same time, getting ready for work, kissing your partner, taking that same train to work, saying hi to the familiar faces on the train, work the usual hours. I grew up around that with my father as he still has the same routing 45 years later working for the same company, taking the same train every morning…which if that weren’t there, he would be lost. Retirement is not an option for my father. If you were to ask my father why he lives his life in such a stale manner, he would reply and say it’s stable, not stale. The difference? Stability keeps him together, being stale brings things to an end. For the most part, relationships, whether personal or professional, are either stable or stale. They either bring you happiness and keep your life even keel. Stale relationships, like bread, crumble and eventually are just used to coat things that ultimately fall apart…though maybe, on the rare occasion, add a bit of texture in your life. Deciding what in your life keeps you together and what will skew like sawdust on a windy day is honestly what makes us implement change…scary as it may be.
“THINGS NEED TO CHANGE”
Quite possibly the one of the worst phrases next to “We need to talk”…as the former usually follows the latter. YIKES! We’ve all been there with a romantic partner, employer, friend and even family. It sucks to hear those words; it sucks even more to be the one to say them. Fact is, when stable becomes stale, change becomes inevitable. Thing is, we often love to have control of our own lives, so we implement changes ourselves. For some, it empowers us to make changes in our lives to clear out the termite-induced sawdust and bring in a fresh piece of oak to recreate structure and stability with. Change, as unsettling as it can be, allows us to recreate, rebuild and restore ourselves. Changing jobs allows us to grow, getting out of a bad relationship allows us to heal and ending useless friendships can be liberating. Just like clothes, we outgrow people, circumstances and even locations.
Now, here’s the tricky part…not all change is implemented, but comes at us like a giant wrecking ball with spikes. The catch is if those spikes are soft and made of foam or hard and made from steel. Obviously, the nerf-gun version are positive changes or changes that are much easier to take, maybe even a change you wanted to make but now feel relieved that someone else did it…ultimately, just easier to stomach. Now, those changes that blindside you, and sock you so hard in the stomach that you can’t breathe…are unbearable, but maybe the most necessary??? Harder the shift, the more motion you feel…? Yes, just like an earthquake. Sudden death, blindsided break-ups, miscarriages, getting fired…these all tear us down, to the point where we almost think we can’t stand up again. As a matter of fact, we sometimes even manage to convince ourselves that we won’t stand up again, so we don’t. However, as many times San Francisco rebuilds, we are given the strength to as well…it just takes a little longer to put the pieces together with an even stronger steel beam and mortar. That whole notion…”If it doesn’t kill you, only makes your stronger”…yeah, there’s something to it. Just remember when you are rebuilding, don’t construct walls so high and thick that you can’t knock them down yourself, regret is another feeling that most of us can’t handle well.
One of the terrifying things for me when I have made changes in my life or have had them just occur, is the aftermath…the unknown. If changes made aren’t built in with a solution, as is changing jobs, toothpaste or coffee brands…coping can be so hard. What do I do without them? How do I go on? Who do I talk to now? How will I support myself? Will they control me? Will I lose myself? How will I raise them? It’s hard enough to deal with as it is, but to also have to come up with the solution yourself…that’s a double whammy. Which is why I think people often fear change as much as they do, it can be lonely, difficult and discouraging. Even positive changes influence us, makes us reevaluate everything in our lives and how it all affects those around us. Eventually, like the wind, life changes and you must decide whether you need a warm hat or flip flops, and just in case, always carry an umbrella.
Change isn’t easy, but necessary. If we are lucky, we get to have control and make them ourselves when we are ready, or at least as ready as we can be. The fear of the unknown often prevents us from making changes that ultimately clear the way for regrowth and beauty. Sometimes, changes come out of nowhere that we may never understand as to why they even occurred. We constantly battle what we are used to with the curiosity of something new; but those deep dark waters hold us back as there may be rocks, but also a world of color and light that has never been seen. Since change is inevitable, why not strap on an extra tank, adjust your mask and make the first JUMP!