On a morning walk in my neighborhood yesterday, I came upon a middle-aged man standing inside a huge moving van parked on the street. He was calmly talking to a woman who was leaning against a car and she appeared to live across the street from him.
Just two neighbors catching up or perhaps saying good-bye? Either way, as I slipped by the moving van, their words helped me realize that change is not just a constant in my life but it’s also a constant for others too and how we learn to deal with those changes can take us to unexpected places.
Here’s a small part of their conversation that I caught:
Married Guy: “…Yeah it’s hard for her (I assume he’s talking about his wife) because she makes more than I do (good for him I think; not a lot of men would admit that out loud) and she doesn’t want to give up her career. So anyway our plan is that she’s going to try to come back and work here two days a week and then maybe work the rest of the time from home.”
Woman Neighbor: “I know. All the stuff you negotiate….”
That’s it right there. Yes. All the stuff you negotiate.
I swear I thought she was going to finish her sentence with “on your way to making your life work the way you had it planned.”
Family. Work. Children. Money. Time. Friends. Goals.
This is all the stuff most of us really and truly care about, the stuff we depend on to keep going. We would like to think that our family, our work, our children, our money, our time, our friends and our goals would go in the direction we wanted them to go right?
But then life happens and quicker than anything you have ever seen before, changing circumstances, such as a job loss or an illness or a death, can push us in a different direction. We wonder how this happened to us. Suddenly we are moving out of our house, or we are in a hospital or we are just standing there stunned. We then find ourselves at a starting point for more change; because now it’s time to start over, to reassess and work out a different plan.
More than ever we live in times of change. I know that I do.
Lots of things in my life are currently changing and it can be stressful. But instead of resisting it or fighting it (because I have found that doesn’t really get me anywhere), I am trying to go with whatever happens next and let go of what I thought it was going to be. I remind myself that it’s a new day and something different may happen. I try to call upon my inner resilience which lets me know that there is a time to stop struggling and to just let things be. To allow myself the time to step back and adjust to these changes while holding on to my core beliefs.
I think change can be scary because you feel you are losing your set way of how your life was going to be and since it didn’t work out you are now faced with looking at the unknown. But please don’t give in to despair. I know it’s tempting. Instead, change could be handing you something good, something that helps you learn to adapt to a life change. Maybe it’s inner strength, or a deeper commitment to those you care about.
Whether you are single, married, divorced or widowed, I think we all find life is a negotiation of sorts.
Life can feel like it’s spinning out of control because you are in an unfamiliar place. That doesn’t always bring out the best in everyone but change is going happen. It sounds funny to say but change is definitely a constant of life.
And somewhere within all that change, all that stuff that you are negotiating is your blessed serenity. If you hang on and stay true to yourself it will reveal itself.
As David Bowie wrote in his classic hit song, Changes, you not only have to turn and face the strange but you also have to turn and face the strain because life is making you move on by rewriting your script.