I think it is human nature to develop a routine then work to stick to that routine. That we later come back and complain about the routine of it all is also human nature. For myself, I love a good routine. I really am not a huge fan of constant changes in my routine. Change is hard. Change is distracting. Change adds fear and uncertainty to this ordinary lady’s life. Change means I need to engage my brain when I really just want to keep on keeping on! So change sucks all the way around.
All of that being said, my entire adult life has been dominated by change: active duty Army, wife of an active duty soldier, mother, business major, and the list goes on. Considering how much change bothers me, I am amazed at how adept I have become at dealing with change. I still whine when something changes but I can deal.
What is it about change that strikes fear into our hearts? For me, the fear is rooted in the uncertainty of the future. Since I do not know what will happen I do not have any control over the outcome. Let’s just say I am a bit of a control freak, and move on. Seriously, I need to be the captain of my own fate. If things go wrong in my life it should be my fault, not some elusive change to blame. It is really hard to maintain my control freak status while standing in a tornado of change all the time but I persevere. I am no quitter!
Actually, because I am not a quitter is probably why I have always managed to deal with change. Just too stubborn to know when to quit, that is me! Long before Tracy Lawrence sang his “Time Marches On” refrain “The only thing that stays the same is everything changes”, it was evident to me that change is a constant and unavoidable. I had to learn to deal with change or I was sunk. Is it wrong that some days I want to be a quitter? Just curl up with a good book, a glass of wine and quit the world and all the messy changes! I guess that is a nice vacation from reality, but not a long-term solution, more’s the pity.
I have discovered there is no shortage of advice on dealing with change, just Google “dealing with change” to see. Some of the advice you can find is decent enough, some not so much. Honestly some of the advice is a bit silly like “accept uncertainty”. If it was easy to accept uncertainty we would not be afraid of change! Or “create a mental script to help reassure yourself” really? I am pretty sure I talk to myself enough now and if I start answering myself the men in the little white coats are sure to make an appearance.
The best advice I ever got about dealing with change was from my grandmother what seems a lifetime ago (I was about 14). She told me to let myself feel whatever it is the change is making me feel (angry, sad, scared, glad, etc.) but don’t let feeling those emotions stop me from succeeding. Being successful is not emotionless, it is about accomplishing a goal in spite of the emotions or because of them. She also said that change, especially big changes will make us want to hide from our emotions and the changes but that would be counterproductive. Tackle the biggest, hardest tasks first so that the smaller easy tasks are a reward as we move through change. Never give up. Grandpa was a bit less wordy, he said, just get it done girl, get it over with and be done! I miss grandma and grandpa every day.
Change is hard. Change is inevitable. But change is not always bad. I do tend to get stuck more on the bad parts of change instead of the good. However, some of the biggest changes in my life were also the most wonderful things that could have happened to me. My family (husband and kids), all three are never-ending sources of change and disruptions to my life. Yet all three have brought me the most joy in my life. My career is a source of near constant change and yet is immensely satisfying.
I never planned the path I am on, change brought me to this path. While I will never be completely comfortable with change, I am willing to keep embracing the changes. That really is the key for this ordinary lady, be willing to embrace the changes. Sure, I will whine, get frustrated, angry, annoyed or pissy when a new change comes around but once that five minutes is over I will move forward and get it done! You do not have to like change to live with it.