Change is good.
I’ve been thinking lately about how different I am from who I was.
Who I was….a third ago, two thirds ago, ten years ago, six years ago.
I go back to my journals to see that I have changed. Really changed. Inside and out.
A long-lost, recently-reconnected friend observed that I am “still in Illinois.” True…but oh, so incomplete in my reality. Still in Illinois, 36 years later, but with 7 different addresses, several businesses started/grown/sold/let die. Kids birthed and educated and grown. Untold relationships. Uncountable miles traveled.
And here I am …. still in Illinois. Happier than I thought I would be. Happier than I thought I could be. Better than I was.
How has this happened?
The most basic explanation is that I was willing to change. I was willing to risk becoming unrecognizably different to be better.
How have I changed?
I’ve made new friends.
At one point, I realized I wanted to be better. I read from Jim Rohn that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. So… I sought out new friends who were more like who I wanted to be.
I’ve moved to new places.
A few times, they were my idea. A few times (including the hardest one) were my husband’s idea. But I knew that to stay where I was would mean staying the way I was. Moving from a small house to a larger one with remodeling needs gave needed space. Moving from city to acreage gave much opportunity for development and growth. Moving back to town saved much commuting time and opened up new possibilities. Moving to another state was a whole new culture adventure. Each move (there are others, not listed) meant that I had to adapt and learn and change.
I’ve traveled to developing countries.
My first trip was on a mission trip with our daughter to Honduras. That developed into an oft repeated experience that took me back to Honduras, to El Salvador, to Armenia and eastern European and central Asian countries, eventually with Habitat for Humanity as a volunteer leader. For a number of years, I trekked several times a year to developing countries to sweat and serve. It changed me and many others who traveled along with me. And, hopefully, we helped change the lives of the people we served.
I’ve been up for adventures.
Backpacking? Yes. Whitewater rafting? Yes. Horse trips? Yes. Camping in the snow? Yes. Working at a ski resort? Yes. Learning to love Chicago and the Cubs? Yes. Heading to the Jersey shore with Joel when we didn’t really know what we’d find? Yes. Attending a brutal speaking workshop? Yes. Driving cross country to deliver a car to a son? Yes. Learning a new profession and industry after age 50? Yes. Often, I was a bit scared and unsure, but go, I did. And I’m glad.
I’ve learned not to panic.
Bad news is going to come, no matter where we are and who we are. Hard times will happen to us. What we hope happens will not always come. “This too shall pass” is a true and useful statement. Dealing with the current reality and knowing/trusting that I have survived and grown from other disappointments and difficulties keeps me pushing ahead, changing, and smiling at the future.
Years ago, I found myself in a difficult change situation, where I was called upon to be the “change agent” in an environment that really wanted to maintain status quo. One friend who recognized my challenge and my efforts, gave me a bookmark that said, “Change is good. YOU go first!” I loved it! That is when I embraced myself as a change agent, seeing possibilities and desiring to go forward in new and better ways. Mostly, along the way, I’ve been changing myself into someone better and happier.
So yes, I’m still in Illinois, but I’m not the same person.