I have been thinking about change the past two months. Maybe it’s the weather. As fall approaches and the sun sets on another humid Midwest summer, I yearn for days of 50 degrees and sweaters, boots and hot coffee, and I am inspired to reflect. As I look back on the last six months, I am in awe at how much has changed in my life. How I went from single to married, from undergrad to graduate, unemployed to employed, and living in a one bedroom apartment to owning a home. I have to stop, breathe, and think, “wow, a lot has changed in the last six months”, because sometimes life happens and I don’t pay attention. I don’t take time to sit and adjust like I probably should and then my body and mind freak out, and I wonder why. It’s true, a lot has changed, but all these changes were changes I wanted and worked for. How could all these great changes still be hard for me to accept? Well, my guess is that change is still hard, even if it’s for the better. Let it get better.
The results of all my hard work seem to be paying off all at once. All the struggle, tears, and total meltdowns are now visibly worth the years of emotional distress…of course I’m being dramatic. It was hard, but worth it. I have been working for YEARS to finish school. I have planned a wedding for almost two, and the house just sort of happened, but it was something that I knew would come eventually. All these “changes” are changes I have wanted, changes I have sacrificed for… So why am I struggling to adjust?
As I sit here writing, drinking a cup of hot coffee, I am humbled. I know that right now, in this moment, life is good for me. But, I know that it wasn’t always good and that it isn’t always going to be good, so I don’t take these happy moments for granted. I know that the hard work I put in to get here, mentally and physically, will have to be continuously maintained to continue to run smoothly. I know this because as all these good changes seem to be happening, as I am fully cognizant that they are good, and I am happy, I am also fighting all the changes, because they are full of unfamiliarity and discomfort. It hurts to change, but I never thought it would.
We talked about this before didn’t we? Our friend Kiley wrote an article called Waves of Change. In it she writes about all the great changes happening in her life, but that somehow still, she struggled to adjust. Like Kiley, I thought I was great at change. I didn’t think twice about how all these changes would affect me because they were, and are, all positive changes that were happening as I had planned. I didn’t give it a second thought to how it would affect my mental health…you know, because I planned them. I should know better by now. But, here we are, me last Monday night, crying as I try to find a way to crawl back to my comfort zone. Because that’s where it’s safe and familiar.
Change is difficult. For. Everyone. Including me.
I went to school and finished so that I could get a better job. I did it, but when I started my new job I hated it. The first week was uncomfortable and new and I wanted to quit. I was looking for new jobs online on my second day and planning my exit strategy in case I had to walk out of there without notice. I had been working there less than one week but I had made up my mind that I wasn’t good at the job and it wasn’t for me. The next Monday after work I still hated it. I hated that I had to talk to people I didn’t know, and that I had to work with systems I was unfamiliar with. I hated that it challenged me. Monday night I cried before bed because I didn’t want to go to work the next day. I stayed up all night thinking about how I could avoid going, the stories are elaborate. The next day came and, alas, I went to work. I pushed through the pain and had an okay day. Two days later, I came home from work and my husband asked me how my day was. I responded, “today was a good day. I think I like my job.” And he looked utterly perplexed. Overnight I had adjusted. I was used to the change, the discomfort, and my new normal.
About three weeks ago my husband and I started buying a house. I am excited about the upgrade and new adventure but about a week ago my husband and I BOTH freaked out. We will no longer be living in a one bedroom apartment. We will be homeowners with a million more responsibilities. We will now be responsible for all that goes wrong and I will have to shovel snow and mow grass and there will be so much more to clean…. Change is scary, even if it’s exciting. We move in a TWO days and I think we have adjusted to the idea of moving and are no longer freaking out.
Of course, it would make me more comfortable to stay in my one bedroom apartment and work at a job that doesn’t challenge me…but that’s not where the growth is. The growth is two days after the meltdown, when the clouds clear and somehow everything is fine. Somehow you figured it out and you’re comfortable again. Somehow you are stronger, wiser, and dare I say happy with your new life. Dare I say you changed, bro. Good for you.
I wanted to quit my job, I wanted to stay in my safe bubble that I know so well. But I couldn’t, I had to move forward. Today I am probably still in a bit of discomfort, I am still working out the kinks in my new life. But I have to remind myself that change is inevitable AND uncomfortable, but I will get past it and all will be well. All will be good as long as the change is in the right direction, the direction YOU want to go. Push past the discomfort, and know that outside of discomfort is your new normal, and a better version of you. Know that you are not alone when you feel uncomfortable with change, humans are notoriously creatures of habit, but we can brake habits, and we can all become the person we want to be, and live the life we want to live. Great opportunities await you outside of your comfort bubble.