“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading” – Lao Tzu
My dad took up running in his thirties. He marathoned with the best of them. Then he became a triathelete and ‘thriatheleted’ with the best of them. Today, this seventy year old pancreatic cancer survivor is a cyclist and golf enthusiast. Growth is awesome…change is good.
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new” – Socrates
One of the travel women I’ve connected with online, runs an Advice Project of ‘letters to my 13 year old self’. The name alone evokes a smile. Can you imagine if your 13 year old self could see you now? What were you afraid of then that you dive head first into now? What made you cringe then that is today a favourite? Growth and change happen at all different times. Is it weird? Is it comfortable? Do you shy away from it all or do you crave it? Seriously, if my childhood self could see me now…what on earth would she say? I’m not sure she’d recognize me…I’m not so sure that’s a bad thing.
“Change is good…yeah, but it’s not easy” – Rafiki and Mufasa, The Lion King
Just recently I reconnected with a camp counselor of mine over a shared love of travel. She too is ready for that long-term travel and to ditch that 9-5 routine for at least a little while. ‘Maybe I’ll move somewhere abroad for awhile, or travel for 3-6 months’…these were parts of our very fun conversation. But, for a moment there, I was transported back to cabin fourteen and remembering how I so hated change. How I longed for my favourite counselors not to switch cabins, for summer to never end, for camp to be year ’round (don’t get me wrong-that would still be great) and for all the happy to remain unchanged. I even relished the sentence ‘I hate change’. Maybe that was okay then, but if I hear that thought even rumble into in my brain today, it makes me cringe! Where would the growth be without the change? Without the ‘changes’, I would have never tried to dangle upside down in a hammock. Without the growth I would have never gone to live abroad. Change is good.
“Our fate lies within us. You only have to be brave enough to see it.” – Princess Merida, Brave
Today, I would almost say, I crave change. After wanting things to stay the same for so long, it’s as if my brain is having that much needed teenage rebellion it never received. At least I got there, right? It seems now a goal is to find that balance between the familiar and the comfortable and the desire for the new and different. Perhaps that’s the journey we’re all on – to find, as Jack Palance tells us in City Slickers, ‘that one thing’. Maybe that’s the balance. I’m not completely certain, but I know now that the balance, at least for me, can change.
“Today you are YOU, that is TRUER than true. There is NO ONE alive who is YOUER than YOU!” – Dr. Seuss
There might be times that the ‘same’ is more necessary than the uncomfortable and those other times when the need to shatter that comfort zone includes things like cliff jumping, ice climbing, skydiving or whatever works for you. If you do it your way, it can’t be wrong, right? Growth can happen anywhere and at any time as long as we’re willing to let it. Take your time, find your way, stumble, change your mind, figure out what works and keep going. I recently read an article written by a colleague/friend as she bid adieu (for now) to her second eldest child as he embarks on a Seamester abroad. Spending a day together before he left on his water adventure, the last few lines of her post got me. “You know Gabe, if there is one thing I hope you got from your childhood, it’s this: Do it your way. Who cares how everyone else is doing it. Do what you want and do it your way…he chuckled, ‘Yeah Mom, I got it.'”
“Unless someone like YOU cares a whole awful lot, NOTHING is going to get better. It’s not.” – Dr. Seuss
With our life choices in the last few months and even years, that’s my takeaway too. Not only is there no ONE way…she’s right, You CAN do it YOUR own way and I can relish in the journey to find out what exactly that is. Whether you adore change from the get go, or are a hesitant admirer from afar, it’s your way. I walk past this waterside patch of grass many times a week and I’ve never seen anything besides people. Some play fetch with their pups, some relax in the shade swooning at the many million dollar yachts in sight and some watch as their kids try their hands at kite flying or frisbee throwing or all things active…but other than that, it’s only been green grass beside the bay front’s embarcadero. And then, one day later, full grown mushrooms. Perhaps it’s mother nature flexing her muscles to show me once again how that change or ‘growth’ can happen anywhere whether you’re ready for it or not. It’s uncertain, unsettling, sometimes dangerous and definitely fluid, isn’t easy, doesn’t happen over night, but, above all…change is good.