“Change is the only constant in life.”
2019 has been a year of change. So has every other day, month and year of my life. Lately, I’ve been thinking about how change is one thing we can always count on.
If that’s true, then why do we all fear change so much?
About three months ago I started a new job at the local community college. It was a welcome change and a tough one, all at the same time. I was transitioning from being a stay-at-home mom to starting a job I had been wanting to experience for years. Yet, I feared this change big time. I remember one specific day after I had accepted the job offer I was in a bad mood and I wasn’t quite sure why. I had been waiting for this type of job for a long time and now it was here. Why was I upset?
I was upset because I feared the change.
I had enough wherewithal to know that I could do something about how I was feeling, so I picked a meditation and 31 minutes later I was in a completely different place. Here’s why: I gave myself the opportunity to process the change that I was feeling.
As I sat in my meditation, I allowed my feelings to have a safe space to play. I felt the sadness of no longer being home with my children everyday and I felt the excitement of starting this new job. I realized I was also sad that my children are getting older and so incredibly excited for this new chapter in their lives.
I welcomed and feared change, all at the same time.
This is just one part of my change story. The point of the above is to remind us all that change is constant and how we allow ourselves to process that change can make all the difference in how we experience it.
Then second part has to do with how others perceive (our) change.
With every new experience, we change. At least, I hope that you do! I’ve realized that I want to experience as much as I possibly can during my life. As a result, it is inevitable that I will change.
I’m recalling a specific time in my life when I met with an HR professional from a larger law firm. She gave me some of her time and reviewed my resume. Her thoughts were as follows: “no one will pick your resume out of a pile, you’ve had too many jobs.” What she meant is, “you’ve had too many experiences.”
At the time this really stung. I mean it hurt. I could barely keep it together during our meeting and tried really hard to channel what I was feeling in that moment (anger, rage, disappointment, sadness?) into something productive so I could leave the meeting with as much grace as possible. I made it through and then I realized how mad I was about those comments.
Many years later, I see that the reason those words were uttered to me was because of the general consensus that PEOPLE FEAR CHANGE.
From an HR or prospective employer perspective, many experiences on a resume can be interpreted as being irresponsible, unable to hold a job, not a good employee, and so on. And that’s fine. It just means that that particular place is not a good place for someone who changes often.
And we all change often, right?
Here’s what I’m trying to get at. Change is constant and people fear change. Those are two truths that sit on opposite sides of the spectrum. Two truths that we have to navigate on a daily basis and learn to make friends with. Two truths that the world has to navigate on a daily basis and learn to make friends with.
I remember being disappointed when this particular HR person shared those thoughts with me. It took (has taken) quite a long time to make peace with the fact that I am who I am and I want what I want. And that is not going to fly with everyone or every place.
And that has to be ok.
You have to learn for yourself that it is ok to change and it is ok for that change to not be favored. In fact, the world needs you to change. For that is the only way to change the world.
Eleanor Roosevelt once said “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” Amen to that! (Although, I believe fear will always play a role, but how much of a role depends on you.)
Change is constant. Give yourself the space to process change however feels good to you. For me it’s meditation, for you it may be something completely different. The point is, honor the changes in your life, for they make up the glorious and unique person you are.
photo credit GingerSnap Photography | Decatur, IL