Changing How I View Change

The only constant in life, is change.

But, let’s face it, knowing that change is inevitable doesn’t make facing it particularly comfortable or easy. In fact, as a card carrying creature of habit myself, I’ll be straight up with you: change makes me shake in my proverbial (and literal) boots more often than not.

As a confident, capable human… why is that? Shouldn’t I be able to just roll with the punches and deal with the hand that I’m dealt without any speed wobbles?

Erm, nope. I can think of quite a few reasons why being nervous about change is good – and why my stomach still churns a bit at the thought of sudden, drastic, unexpected changes in life.

The first thing that makes me fear change is simply that I have grown-up responsibilities (like mortgages and bills and all of that adulting carry-on). To feel safe & supported, I need to have a firm foundation of stability across the main areas of my life. These areas include financial, emotional, spiritual & creative aspects of who I am and what I do. Should these foundations be rocked, moved, jiggled, or even hinted at being drastically altered – panic sets in.

Or at least tries to set in.

Without stability, and without a sense of being able to provide for my child, my fiancee, and myself – my world (and my sense of self worth) start to crumble. Having knowledge that our next meal, mortgage payment, hug, laugh, and moment together might not be safe all add to my feelings of worry in times of change. At the core of who we are intrinsically,  (where our basic, instinctual drives reside) we need more than anything to live in a state of comfort – which usually means habitual daily routines. When our routines are disrupted. So too are the supporting pillars of happiness and confidence.

Another reason change has always been a bit nerve-wracking for me is that I like being able to define who I am – on my own terms. We all do, right? And, to do that, I need to understand my place in the world and how my actions effect others – their well being, their health, their core values. To do this well, means I need to have (or at least feel that I have) some control over my own circumstances.

Let me elaborate more on change – and why it can break a person. Change takes away our sense of being in control of our lives & our destiny.  When I start to feel like I’ve lost all control, I take a step back, breathe deep & start to make decisions – even micro-decisions are a starting point to turn negatives into positives. I usually decide that I have in me the power to change, and that everything starts to balance itself out again. It may take some time, but my mind becomes clear, the weight on my shoulders lighter – and my confidence is restored in going through the mental steps of building positives out of perceived negatives.

I’d be telling a big ‘ol porky-pie if I said I haven’t given in to the depth of despair on more than one occasion. I’m not an automaton. I know the darkness of failure. I’ve tasted it, wallowed in it, & given in to self-doubt. But, not for long. In fact, as I get older, I am able to fall & fail fast. And then pop back to my feet, taller & stronger than before. As my ten-year-old told me yesterday, “Mom, you climbed a mountain, a really big one, and now you’re just going down the other side. The next mountain’s gonna be bigger Momma. I can tell!” (what a kid!) Having the love & support of people who continually remind you of your worth is hugely important to rolling with changes.

Is there anything good about change? I’m talking about a mushy, warm, happy-tickle good thing. YES! YES THERE IS AMAZING GOOD IN CHANGE!

If I’m honest, the good is in the slowing down and taking the time to think, reflect, and also getting super focused on planning, potential outcomes, and building resilience. By slowing down and counting my blessings, as well as looking at my achievements and skills to date (I’m talking personally & professionally), I’m able to really shine a light on the positive nature of uncertain times. The old cliches about the worst of times teaching us the best of lessons exists for a reason. That reason being that, for the most part, what doesn’t defeat us really does make us stronger. And stronger equals resilient equals a state of mind focused on success.

Because, if change is inevitable, and control is the key to feeling firm in your foundations – then giving into your own power of taking control of all situations and how you react to them means that you’re in charge of your story. Not happenstance. No other person holds the keys to how you view the world. It’s you. It’s me. It’s all of us.

Today I see change the same way I see life. Nothing is permanent. Even if the word “permanent” is a falsity when included as a binding part of a promise. Everything is in flux. Always. Nothing, and I mean nothing, is permanent. Each new day, each new experience, each new moment is a blessing and a moment to learn, to refocus, and to remember just how lucky we are to be above ground. Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable is a process. A life-long one. So too, is change.

Embrace the process.
Ride the waves.
Be the change.
And, when you can, help others through moments where they’re feeling vulnerable. Kindness first. Smile much. And believe that, together, we can truly overcome anything.

An Open Letter to Cancer

Dear Cancer –

I’m not going to beat around the bush or mince words here. I’ll say it firm and clear: you need to pack your things and go. I don’t need you in my life or in the lives of my friends and family. In the last few years you’ve destroyed a lot of people I
love. You’ve caused them to crumble. Some have beaten you at your game – for now at least. But others haven’t been so lucky. I’ve seen too many caskets lowered into graves on your account. I’ve cried a river and then some. And, I’m sick of
it. I’m sick of you.

You’re insidious. You don’t care about who a person is. How much money they have or how good or bad they might be. You’ve got medicine working like rogue armies to try to stop you – but thus far, even the best technology on the planet can’t stop you in your tracks. You’re wily, too. You spread quickly. And you wear so many masks that we never know when – or where – you’ll show up next. This pisses me off. This saddens me. This makes me feel like screaming, running away, breaking all of the windows in the house and pleading to whatever gods there might be in the heavens to help find a way to thwart you.

Yet, you keep coming back.

Today, after the tear stains of losing my mother-in-law and a beloved uncle have just been washed clean of my pillow case, I learned that another person I love and look up to has had their life interrupted by you. When you come around we all start to live life like we’re walking on egg shells. We tend to crumble from the stress and sadness you bring. I’m at my wit’s end with you. Seriously, just be gone. Pack your bags and go back to the ether from which you came.

You won’t leave though, will you? You’ll stick around because you enjoy the pain you cause. You find strength in breaking people down and you love nothing more than laughing at the expense of others. I’ll say this here and now: you’ll be beaten. One way or another, at some point in time, we will figure you out and find as much joy in destroying you as you do in causing us to crumble.

So yeah, Cancer, you need to get on your bike and ride off into the sunset…and off a cliff.

Sincerely,

Me