Do you embrace change or resist it?
My dear dad always says “A change is as good as a holiday.” Well not really but hey, it’s still good!
So anyway, last night I was talking with my sister Cath in Australia sharing what I’ve been up to of late. I happened to mention a workshop I ran for the Center for Association Leadership in Washington D.C. last week. How it was at the International Trade Center of Pennsylvania Avenue, just up the street from the White House. It was also on September 11th.
She said “Margie, I hope you stop every now and again and get what amazing experiences you have in America.” And I thought to myself, “Hmm, well not this week. . . been too busy.” So it got me thinking about the many changes I’ve had since that world-rocking day in September 2001. Back then I was living in Adelaide, Australia, a full-time mum to a 5 week old baby, 2 and 3 year old and packing up my house to move to the U.S. with my husband, Andrew. Since then I’ve lived four years in Texas, and now three in Virginia. I’ve finished my psychology studies, completed coach training, started my coaching business, changed at least 5,000 nappies/diapers, had about 5 nights of uninterrupted sleep, written a book, contributed to another (soon to be two!), spoken a lot and, oh yeah, nearly forgot, I’ve also had a fourth child. Hmmm, no wonder I sometimes forget that I’m about to turn forty (on election day!). My 30’s have been. . . well. . . full!
Now I don’t share all that with you to impress you. Nor to exhaust you. You probably think I’m slightly nuts anyway. Rather I am sharing that simply because I know that a lot has also changed in your world in the last seven years. How could it not? You, like me, are seven years older. As are the people in your life. You’ve probably endured some disappointments, changed jobs or at least experienced change on the job, enjoyed many fun occasions, grieved some losses and through it all, had to grow and adapt and learn and become stronger, wiser and more resilient.
You know life is one long experience of change. Sometimes it’s change we welcome. Sometimes it’s change we step into apprehensively. And at other times it’s change we resist tooth and nail. The reality is that experiencing change in your life is a certainty. Whether your experience of it is one of terror or wonder is a choice.
As I look back on my last 7 years I realize it’s been one truly amazing journey of ongoing change, ongoing challenge, ongoing adjustments, ongoing adventure, ongoing growth. Some of the change I embraced, some I’ve struggled through. My first few months living in Texas with three very young kids, no friends, no fixed address and a traveling husband were anything but easy. But as the saying goes, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. And as it does, it teaches you so many lessons about yourself, about what life has to offer, about joy and suffering, regret and responsibility, loss and love. It has also taught me, now that I stop to think about it, to treasure each and every experience I have along the way. The highlights and low-lights alike. You see, even the tough times pass. Even the disappointments fade. Even the burden of loss, that so many thousands felt so acutely seven years ago, lightens and the sadness it gives rise to loosens its grip.
So to my darling sister Cath, who asked me if I ever stop and “get” what amazing experiences I have, I say this: “Yes, but thank you for reminding me.” And to you, who I know are busy juggling responsibilities, managing commitments and navigating through your own changes, I invite you to also just stop, to reflect on all that you have accomplished and experienced and learned and become in the last seven years. You would not be where you are today had you not had to deal with the changes and rise to the challenges you have. Just as your journey to this moment has been unpredictable and unique, so it will be beyond here. Don’t let another day, week or year slip by without opening your arms wide to it, savoring it and celebrating it.
So until next time, embrace the opportunities that life’s changes offer up to you and step forward into them with wonder and gratitude for all there is for you to learn from them and become through them.
And, as always, live boldly.