With the Fall weather approaching (much more slowly here in California than other places I’m sure), I’ve been reflecting on change. I have great neighbors moving away, I’m settling into a new office, and I’ve been forced to reassess certain parts of my life. The changes are real, and while some are great others have been really hard. I do my best to take them in stride, but I’m human too and I know I haven’t handled everything as gracefully as I could.
And I know I’m not alone, which got me thinking about the different ways we all handle changes in our lives. I think the biggest differentiating factor between what constitutes “good or bad” change is choice. When we are choosing to make a change in lifestyle, career, living situation—it’s a lot easier to feel positive about it. We can rationalize some of the sadness and discomfort because the end-game is aligned to what we want.
It’s so much harder when we are forced into change. Getting fired, being broken up with, getting a bad medical diagnosis—these are the changes we seek to avoid, and the ones that are always unwelcome. This is where we can struggle to find the positive spin, and for the most part that’s ok. I will always advocate to feel your feelings. Move through them as needed, but don’t get stuck in them.
One thing that has been helping me this year, as I look at all the upcoming change, and reflect on all the changes of the past is remembering that no matter how scary and big some of the shifts have been, I always survived them. Maybe at times we come out the other side a little worse for the wear. The hope is that we find meaning in the change—a lesson or a purpose for it happening. But even when we can’t, or haven’t made it to that place, we grow stronger. We learn that we can endure, and sometimes that is enough.
If, like me, you have spent any amount of time online within the past two weeks, you have undoubtedly come across Top 10 lists and resolutions, and pros and cons for the new year. I have never been very big a new year’s resolutions for a few reasons. First, I do not like to start something I won’t finish. Generally by the time I remember I (cringe to type) “should” come up with some type of goal, I don’t have much time to come up with something clever or creative that will truly benefit my life. Secondly, I live my life with goals. It doesn’t take a date on the calendar to remind me that life is lived in perpetual motion, so I am often addressing the stagnant areas of my life and choosing a way to reset the momentum. Lastly, it feels de-motivating in a way, to be limited to a resolution on the new year. If I decide that I want to learn a new language in October, but I know that might make a good resolution, I am more likely to put it off until January 1. By the time January arrives, I don’t feel the pressing urge I had in the moment to learn that language, and suddenly it becomes something that never happens.
So rather than waiting for my fresh start tomorrow, I decided to write this short post today. I don’t want to be negative to those for whom resolutions work. I just want the pressure of “major life change” to dissipate slightly. I think people are more motivated to complete something they want to do rather than something they have to do. If now feels like the right time for it, more power to you, but I encourage reflection before action. Chart your trajectory and determine if the path looks good. That is where more time is spent.
And if you were curious, I do not have a “resolution” per se, but I do have goals that I am currently working on. The first is my self-care. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and making more time for fitness has made a marked change in my approach to work, so it will be something I continue into the new year. And second is this blog. It was an idea for so much longer than it has been a reality, and I plan to reverse that. I have found a great source of joy in utilizing this medium, and through constructive feedback and support, I plan to continue with weekly postings for as long as possible.
So thank you for 2013, and see you in the new year.