The fabled six letter word that has inspired both dread and excitement alike. I had always found it fascinating how a simple difference of scenery or cultures can create wondrous appetite for adventure. Or on the other hand, the same can be said of small shifts in responsibilities being able to cause an overwhelming stress.
When I first think of life changes I think of adaptation and choice. I choose to think about how I will need to change my approach or my attitude in order to make a situation work.
For example, if I was going to a party I would think about a gift and what to wear. Take that same party and base it in Manhattan. Well now I may have to redesign my means of getting there to avoid driving through the city when there is so much mass transit at my disposal. I always drive everywhere – why not put my feet up and make this train ride a chance to start the party early by chatting with my family and friends that are sharing the ride?
Now for some, the stress of planning that commute might deter them from going. The inconvenience of having to step outside the security of your car and the familiarity of your streets has caused you to miss out on the unknown adventure and fun at this celebration. If so, we would have resisted adapting for the sake of the familiar.
We apply this frequently throughout our lives, in sometimes less noticeable ways.
This could be at a job. You could be going home unhappy and exhausted every day, but decide to stay where you are because it is familiar and comfortable. You have been there for years – why go through all the hassle of resumes and interviews when you could just continue being unhappy? In this case we have already adapted to unhappiness – slowly and without really knowing when it happened.
And that’s just it – adapting to anything is a time consuming process.
A new home doesn’t feel like home just because it’s yours. No, at first its just a house, you have to fill it with everything that makes it into a home. It starts with furniture, sure, but it takes all your strange decor (that’s right, it’s strange to everyone else) and the smells of your detergent and perfumes to make it really be home. The house takes time to adapt to being your home.
Now a house doesn’t have much choice, but you do.
I’ll give you a couple of examples:
-If you find yourself lonely, but turn down a friend because it’s a week day – you’re missing out and isolating yourself. Go out, have fun, and be tired tomorrow.
-If you’re burnt from your terrible job and go home to waste hours on Netflix, you are only maintaining your unhappiness – you’re not really relaxing are you? Take that time and invest it into finding something better.
We, as human beings, have this natural ability to be indomitable. We have a history as a species to be resourceful and evolutionary, but only if we tap into it. We can also be cogs in a machine the grinds away ambitions and dreams, but only if we let it.
We won’t always be choosing these changes, some things simply happen.
A layoff, death, illness and a laundry list of less fortunate things that sometimes ring your doorbell. There are plenty of circumstances that are beyond our control that challenge the strength of our hearts. The only way we can truly endure is by already having a stable ground to stand on. Everything else must create the most solid foundation to keep us from being broken.
That being said, we must be doing the best with what we can control in order to survive what we can’t.
Now where in change do we find the silver lining?
You make the choice to invest your time in finding a better job and change your career.
You make the choice to go out with an old friend rather than watching movies with your pet – changing your night.
You make the choice to remove yourself from a bad home environment and change apartments.
You make the choice to end an abusive relationship and change your mindset from victim to protagonist.
Every single part of this takes time and effort to get to a better place.
It starts with choice, continues with adaptation, and ends with change.
With the right amount of love and luck – you are in a better place when the dust settles.
So, you could stay in your same old place because the new house doesn’t smell right to you. Employed at the same job where you are frequently unhappy.
Or you could take that leap of faith and step out into the unknown.
You might be surprised on how much you are able to accomplish fueled only by hope, love, and a desire to live better.