A few years ago, I was talking with my mom about the very popular self-help book “Who Moved My Cheese?” about dealing with change at work and in life. The book argues you must have a positive attitude about change and adapt in order to survive.
“I really don’t like change,” I explained to my mom. “Even good change is bad.”
I must have been all of 20 years old, and who knew what I even thought “change” was at that time. Lord knows I had no idea the amount of changes I would see in the coming years.
As I get older, I’ve realized that it isn’t that I don’t like change, or that I think change is a bad thing. In fact, I relish change. Especially when it’s on my own terms. And I’ve properly prepared for it.
For example, at work, I’m constantly on the lookout for potential changes in my industry or for my clients. That way when changes pop up, I’m not often caught off guard.
The real problem I have with change relates to my personal life. In my personal life, I suffer from a little known condition called ThingsAreNeverGonnaChangeItis. This condition causes me to assume that my relationships, friends and family are going to stay the same. Little changes here or there, sure. Big, life altering changes? Nope.
But then my single girl role model gets engaged.
My grandfather gets sick.
In a month, one of my longtime friends is moving to Chicago.
I see on Facebook that a dear friend has gotten married. I wasn’t invited. She hasn’t spoken to me in more than a year, and I have no idea why. And now I’ve missed her wedding.
I find myself standing in the doctor’s office watching my sister get an ultrasound to find out the sex of her first baby.
Change. Change. Change.
Of course, I realize my friends and family have their own lives to live. I truly want good things to happen to the people I love. But somehow, whenever big changes happen in my relationships and to the people around me, they catch me off guard. While I’m certain all these things may happen someday, I never expect them to happen today.
When my sister first found out she was pregnant, she made me promise to keep it a secret until she was far enough along to tell more people. “I’m no good at secrets,” I told her. “I mean, I can keep a secret – sorta. I have to be able to tell at least one person.” She agreed I could tell Chef.
First, Chef and I reeled over the news. Once we were done reeling, we’d forget she was pregnant all together. I’d start to text her to invite her out for drinks, then abruptly stop in my tracks.
“Duh. Natasha is pregnant. No drinks for her,” I’d tell Chef. This started the joke where every time I mention the progress of my sister’s pregnancy, Chef asks, “Natasha is still pregnant?”
“The baby is the size of a strawberry!” I’d exclaim.
“Natasha’s still pregnant?” would be his reply. After five months, the joke still hasn’t gotten old.
Because somehow, I keep forgetting she’s pregnant.
The way I keep forgetting that my friend is moving to Chicago.
Or that my other friend isn’t speaking to me.
The problem with identifying that I suffer from ThingsAreNeverGonnaChangeItis is that I am now paranoid that things are going to change all the time. I fear that nothing is permanent. This has been a problem since I broke up with my ex fiancé in such a catastrophic manner. I keep thinking that every future relationship is going to end in the same shocking and heartbreaking way. So, refusing to be caught off guard ever again, I find myself constantly looking for cracks in my relationship or signs that things are about to shift dramatically. Since this obviously isn’t the healthiest approach to an adult relationship, I’m working on it.
As I let these changes grow on me, I am beginning to become one with them. This is what life is all about. Things have to change so you can grow. People have to leave you so they can grow, too. Women have to have babies so the human race can continue. Friendships change – sometimes they even end – and it’s not the end of the world.
Whether the change feels bad or good at the moment, it’s all a part of who you are. And who you will become. Because even if you don’t notice it, you are changing with each and every day.
Did I mention my sister’s having a boy? Having another nephew and helping raise him into an amazing man is a change I can live with. And I can’t wait to see my sister in her new role as a mother. Even if it means I can’t invite her out for drinks for a bit.
How do you handle change? Any tips for getting over ThingsAreNeverGonnaChangeItis?
Copyright 2012. Simply Solo blog by Catherine Gryp. All Rights Reserved.