Change, love it or hate it? It happens.

“We can’t be afraid of change. You may feel very secure in the pond that you are in, but if you never venture out of it, you will never know that there is such a thing as an ocean, a sea. Holding onto something that is good for you now, may be the very reason why you don’t have something better.” ― C. JoyBell C.

Do you love or hate change?

I don’t mean the word, I mean the fact that change happens. I think we are all pretty similar in that we are pretty adaptable to change so long as it occurs in increments and in a timescale that we feel comfortable with.

As opposed to those major gut-wrenching changes that sometimes happen, like separation, a change of career or perhaps death. I have yet to come across someone who is so opposed to change and wants everything to be exactly the same every day. Have you?

I think we adapt quite well to changes. I was reflecting back today.

I remember vividly the girls starting primary school. That first day, of getting up early, getting ready and being excited to go to “big school” at the age of 5. Six years follow. A routine is developed. Friendships created by them and by us as adults. Then suddenly that day arrives when they have to leave primary school and go to senior school. Tears and moments of joy. A summer holiday and then the journey starts again at senior school. Another six years of developing new friendships. Growing into young adults. Suddenly, the final year is upon us and a prom and exams are the focus on their minds. Another change and they start the sixth form.

In that same time period as parents, we have gone through changes as well.

We extended one house twice, with all the building works going on around us. We then moved house, – don’t ask why! Bought and sold four horses. Yes, four. I find it amazing I ever agreed to one, let alone four. I have changed jobs a number of times and started to define a new career path for myself along the way. I even had a midlife crisis and owned a boat and frightened myself witless learning how to captain it on one of the most challenging tidal rivers in the UK.   

When was the last time you took some time out to reflect on the changes that have gone on in your life? We live our lives going through huge amounts of change, often without even realising it.

As we experience a change in the moment that the change happens, we might feel fraught. Perhaps frightened. We might not want the change to happen. We might be angry that the change is happening. I learnt a trick a few years ago that has really helped me.

HELPFUL TIP: When you are going through a change period, take a few minutes to write down how you are feeling. The thoughts and worries that you might have. How you think others are reacting around you. I call this a Memory Note.

Then put the note you have written away. Somewhere safe, out of sight. Why?

Because you are not going to look at the note until the change is over. Sometimes when I have done this, I have even forgotten I wrote stuff down. Six months or more may pass and all of a sudden I’ll remember I wrote something. More recently, I have taken to put a reminder into my diary months ahead to remind me that I wrote something down and also where I hid it.

When the reminder comes up, I grab the notes and sit and read them. I then reflect on the feelings I have now as opposed to those that I might have written at the time. It certainly helps me to understand what I was feeling at the time and how I coped with the change. It also helps me understand and learn from the change. Maybe, next time there is a change going to happen in your life, you will give a Memory Note a try.

I leave you with the following quote:

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style”  ― Maya Angelou

Change is the only constant

“Forgive the past. It is over. Learn from it and let go. People are constantly changing and growing. Do not cling to a limited, disconnected, negative image of a person in the past. See that person now. Your relationship is always alive and changing.” ― Brian L. Weiss, Messages from the Masters: Tapping Into the Power of Love

Spending time reading at the weekend, I have come to regard as a pleasure.

Getting up early and sitting with a book; reading on my kindle or on-line; I get lost in the words; the story; the journey. I have always read, ever since I can remember. I was known as the “bookworm” in my family. I can recall reading under the bed covers as a very young child; using a very old fashioned rectangular blue torch to shine the light onto the printed page as I devoured the story; gripped by the plot and the characters. Then would come the inevitable “Put that light out and go to sleep” from my mother.

Anyway, back to now. An article in a newspaper has prompted me to reflect on change why it is constant. Whilst reading the article “The secret of happiness? Live life in the slow lane”, I was struck by one small section:

“Things I liked when I was young but now couldn’t care less about: aeroplane journeys, all-you-can-eat buffets, horror movies, staying up all night. Things I enjoy now I am older: Mozart, brown rice, meditation, spending time alone, regular exercise. We change without realising it. We are in the midst of change now.”

I stopped what I was reading and realised that life has been a constant change. The words in bold are key to the next series of thoughts I had.

When I was young, I liked: Horror movies.Staying up late or even all night. Reading fiction and especially horror and fantasy. Getting out on my bike. Being with my mates down the park.

In my middle years, I liked: Science programmes. Reading about World War II. Going to the gym. Chasing girls. Listening to 1980’s pop music.

Now, I like: Listening to podcasts. Listening to classical music and modern classical composers like Ludovico Einaudi. Meditation. And I have rediscovered a need for exercise to try to be healthy.

Throughout all of my life, I have lived a life of constant change. Change that has been almost unnoticed. It was only by pausing and reflecting this morning, that I recognised, even for those things that we feel are constant, like our taste in music, or reading or films; change happens. So imagine, if you will, those major changes in your life? Relationships. Work. home. Places you have lived. Those are not changes. They are more like transformations.

For instance, we transform ourselves for others when we start relationships. I am reading (yes, I know, I’m repeating myself) a fascinating book by Alain de Botton on The Course of Love. You may disagree but think for a moment about a recent or even current relationship you are in. I can guarantee that you are not the same person who started that relationship. You have changed, and quite possibly, you will notice that the other person has changed as well. If you write down what attracted you to the person when you first met them and compare it to your feels now, there will be a difference.

We transform ourselves when we start a new job. Certainly, when you move companies. The company culture will be different. The people’s work practices will be different to what you might have experienced in a previous employer. Even if you are self-employed, you may find that you approach a new client in a different way to an old client.

Finally, homes. It is a given than when we move into a new home; whether rented or owned; we want to change it. Put our mark on it. Paint it. Decorate it. Furnish it with our stuff. Even when you are our looking at potential new places to live, I know you will make comments like “If we change that, or move that….” as part of the decision process.

So change is a constant. So is transformations. Life is a journey that we all go on. As it is Saturday, I will return to my reading. Whatever you are doing this day. Enjoy and I hope you have a pleasant weekend.

The article, I read is here, if you are interested.

I leave you with the following quote.

“Change is a funny thing. We never are quite sure what we are becoming or even why. Then one day we look at ourselves and wonder who we are and how we got that way. Only one thing about change remains constant…it is always painful”

Jodi Picoult, The Tenth Circle