The Only Constant In Life
I have to admit, it was hard for me to sit down and write about change. I’m someone who loves planning and routine,
so how the heck am I going to write about the benefits of change? As I took time to think about the topic, my experiences came flooding back and despite the many changes in my life, I STILL struggle with it.
Frankly, it’s because change isn’t easy.
When I was nineteen, I moved away from Oklahoma, the only state I had ever lived in, to attend college in Denver, Colorado. Holy cow, did I struggle at first. Thankfully, I had gymnastics to keep me grounded, but I was so homesick. It wasn’t until we hit our first competition season in January that I was able to settle in and focus more on the present. This was the moment that I realized how much I thrived on routine (I’m assuming everyone else around me had known this for years).
The next big change brought about my full realization of how hard change can be. I decided to quit grad school after only two weeks. To back up a little, when I was in college, I didn’t focus nearly enough on what I wanted to do after I graduated. That’s not to say I didn’t receive good grades; I just didn’t think about what I wanted to do when I was done. No internships. Nothing. I majored in psychology, so my junior year I decided that I wanted to be a school counselor because I enjoyed working with children. Counselors need a master’s degree. That was that. I spent little time thinking about it.
I decided on the University of Georgia. My boyfriend couldn’t join me until my second year of school, so I was going to be on my own for the first year. No problem, I thought. I moved to Denver on my own, so I could easily do it again. And that was when the world laughed at me...it didn’t go as planned. Not only was I moving again, but I no longer had gymnastics to keep me grounded in familiarity. I threw myself into my schoolwork to keep busy, but things were not okay. I didn’t want to be there. I couldn’t focus. I couldn’t bring myself into the present like I was able to in Denver. My mental health suffered more than I knew how to handle. I made the decision to quit grad school and move back to Oklahoma with my family. It was what I needed to do for myself at the time, but it was hard because I suddenly had no plan for my life. I had no income, I had no idea what to do, and for a 23-year-old perfectionist planner, that was scary.
I was home for a month when my then-boyfriend received a job offer to coach at the Naval Academy. He accepted, and I made the decision to move with him. Logistically, it made sense. I wasn’t in school and I didn’t have a full-time job, so it was easy for me to pick up and move to a new state. However, emotionally I was still dealing with leaving grad school and not knowing what came next in my life. The move was hard, and I felt the effects for almost an entire year. If it hadn’t been for my boyfriend and my job at the best gym on the planet I wouldn’t have made it in Maryland. Now, almost three years later, I work full-time at a job that I love, I am getting married next year, and I recently bought a house. All that to say (I know everyone knows this but it bears repeating), the best things in our lives sometimes come from the biggest changes.
Enter the coronavirus, which has upended every single person’s life across the globe. That’s a pretty big change, if you ask me. Some people have been affected more than others. For me, it’s only changed my daily routine. Others are dealing with more devastating changes - job losses, sick family members, etc. My aim is not to minimize the impact of the coronavirus because it’s heartbreaking and scary. I just want to offer a reminder of the very potent realization that the only constant in this life is change. You can plan all you want, and the world will laugh at your plans and change them in the blink of an eye. Yes, it is 100% not fair. But it’s still a reality.
A lot of people will read this and think I haven’t experienced nearly as many changes as they have. They’re right. I realize this, and I also realize that more is coming. I will probably struggle. Again and again and again. I think there are very few people that can experience a big life change and flip a switch five minutes later to a brand new mindset. (If you can do this, please help those of us who aren’t as lucky!)
Truly, the only constant in life is change. It can be scary no matter what it is, and it takes time to embody the process of embracing change as it comes rather than running from it. I chose to run from it three years ago and it still caught up to me in the end! I ask that you be gentle and forgiving with yourself through the process of change and the unknown, especially now. We all struggle with it in one form or another, and it’s important to know that we’re all in it together.
As time goes to show, some of the best moments in our life come from unexpected changes… especially the ones that initially knock us off our feet.
Good thing I know how to flip.