Life Musings :: On Change

 Life musings, on change

One of the things I’ve really enjoyed about getting older is knowledge I’ve gained about myself. Sure, there are always certain things I’ve known – spiders terrify me, I’m sometimes afraid of the dark, I prefer being with friends and family over being alone – but there are those other things, the deeper, more personal facts, that take a little more life experience to truly understand.

My attitude towards change is one of those things gained only through experience. I had always considered myself a person open to change – excited and ready to dive into a new adventure. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve started to see that my personal preference is quite the opposite. I’m not necessarily change-averse, but it’s become very clear to me that I find comfort in the expected and understood, and tend to shy away from the unknown. And while I do understand the benefit that can come with change, the fear of making the wrong decision typically prevents me from making any decision, hence why I often remain with what I know.

Here’s the thing – going about life in this way isn’t wrong, but the decision to remain in the same circumstances (good or bad) can limit the opportunities that come with something new. And sometimes, shaking things up is good, necessary even, to keep your life fresh, interesting, and full of opportunity – even those anxious nerves that come with uncertainty can be refreshing every once in awhile.

It took me a major life change to realize this.

Earlier this summer, I made the decision to switch jobs after more than three years with one company – a company, I should add, that served as my second family and closest companions. The decision was not an easy one. It involved many sleepless nights, bouts of anxiety, and seemingly unstoppable tears because I loved what I had (a great job with great coworkers in a great environment), and I had no idea that a different opportunity could provide much better than that. But despite the fear, there was a small internal push from inside (that part of me that is welcoming of new experiences) that convinced me that maybe this change would be OK.

So I took a terrifying leap of faith, and made one of the biggest, most unexpected changes in my life.

I’m just a week into my new job, and those nerves have not gone away; instead, they’ve taken something of a different form. Yes, the fear of not fitting in and of having made the wrong decision is still alive and well, but the nerves also come from something else – excitement. I made a major life change, and it’s scary – terrifying even – but also exhilarating. I decided to try, and even if that decision turns out to be the wrong one, I still made it. And it feels kinda nice.

I don’t think I’ll ever be someone who can make constant changes (I’ll always find comfort in what I know), but this might have opened the door for some growth in the change department. Making the nerve-wracking decision to switch companies showed me that change isn’t necessarily bad, it’s just different.

What are your thoughts about change? And how do you help make change easier to accept? Please share your thoughts because I can use all the guidance I can find.

Dressing Room Therapy Session.

Is it strange that my evening of retail therapy turned into into another sort of therapy all together?  Rather than sifting through racks of clothes I knew I couldn’t (or wouldn’t) buy, I opted instead to look through the layers I’ve built up in the last few years and give my inner self a good once over.  And man, if my inner self was a dress at one of the stores I visited tonight, I would have walked right by it.  I couldn’t believe what I saw…all thanks to a little evening shopping trip.

Originally determined to ignore that nagging feeling I had that this would turn into something other than a shopping trip, I selected a few items and headed to the dressing room.  But as I sat in the dressing room at Forever 21, wondering why none of the clothes I had chosen that looked so wonderful on the model-esque plastic figure in store just didn’t look good on me, I just couldn’t stop thinking about “my self discovery”. And then I had something of a revelation – it wasn’t the clothes that didn’t look good on me; it was me that looked badly in the clothes (enter the beginning of my self psychotherapy session).  Somewhere along the last several years, I  began to think of myself differently and I now lacked the confidence necessary to carry an outfit. I think that rather than appreciate myself for the accomplishments I’ve made, I chose instead to focus on what I could have done better.  I participate in triathlons, but I could go faster; I do well at work, but I could do better; I love to write, but I could be published…In short, I’ve become far too critical of myself.  This critical eye (once a great personality characteristic) has turned me into a person full of uncertainty, fearful of the fact that I won’t live up to my own (or others’) expectations. How a simple article of clothing evolved into this therapy session, I do not know, but it did nonetheless and enough was enough. So, there, in that dressing room, I decided it’s time to make a change.

I will find my confidence again.  That drab inner self that wouldn’t have turned my head if it was displayed in a store window will soon be my must have item.  I know it won’t be easy – damn, if it was easy, I’d be sporting the trendiest looks around without the slightest concern – but it’s going to happen.  You know that sage advice that some random person said one time – “Fake it till you make it” – well, fake it I shall do.

From this day on, I vow to stop worrying so much about whether I’ve done something the best it can be done.  As long as something is the best I can do, then that will be celebrated.  From this day on, I also vow to stop concerning myself with others’ opinions.  I’m 23 years old – it’s about time I make my own decisions and have confidence in them. It’s time I walk into a store and have trouble picking out an outfit because they all look so great. In general, it’s just time.

So while my evening at the mall may  not have resulted in the new purchases I originally intended, I ended up leaving with something far greater (and more valuable) – I left with a new outlook and mission. I left with the start of some new found confidence. The best part? It was all free!

If you’ve ever had some sort of epiphany in a unexpected place, I’d love to know. Share your story in the comments section.