When was the last time you did something for the first time?
The last time you felt terrified – in the best way possible?
How many days do we spend in the same routines, without ever really challenging ourselves? It’s easy to be comfortable & to shy away from change. I used to HATE change, even if it was small. At the end of every summer, I’d spend my last few weeks of freedom worrying about how busy my next year of classes would be, instead of enjoying the long days I still had left to not care. I have a favorite coffee order, favorite trail to run, favorite candle scent & a favorite old t-shirt that I’ll never part with. When any one of these constants in my life is thrown off, I feel in a state of flux as well.
The biggest changes are still coming.
In a few weeks (WEEKS!), I’ll be packing up my apartment, walking in my cap & gown, & preparing for whatever comes next. It’s a strange feeling – exciting, nostalgic, & alarming all at once. Change is a scary, but necessary, tool in our lives & without it, we’d stay stuck in the same place forever. I’m learning how to lean into the uncertainty & discomfort that change brings because, without it, we’d never grow.
The greatest challenges that we face allow for the greatest transformations in the way we see ourselves. We can break down our fears by asking ourselves, “what is it about that particular situation, person, opportunity, or struggle that scares us the most?” Often, I’ve found that the source of my anxieties was rooted in my own lack of confidence or past negative experiences that I’d had trouble letting go of. I had to reflect, even though it felt uncomfortable, on whether my fears were worth losing out on an opportunity to for growth.
How can we be better at navigating the changes in our lives?
1. TUNE IN
Change often means letting go of one thing in order to gain something better. Before you dive in headfirst, ask yourself — “What is most important to me?” This seems like a big question to answer, especially when it comes to jobs, relationships, & other opportunities. Try journaling as a way to let these thoughts flow, without allowing yourself the time to second-guess yourself. You might find that certain aspects of your current lifestyle — classes you don’t enjoy, a relationship that no longer serves you — are actually preventing you from truly moving forward.
2. TALK IT OUT
It’s easy to get caught up in our own heads. When faced with a difficult choice, it’s helpful to bring in another perspective, preferably from somebody who is unbiased & unafraid to be blunt with you — who tells it like it is! Sometimes, saying our fears out loud is all we need to take away their power. We realize that everybody goes through similar worries in their lives. We’ve all felt the butterflies in our stomachs before a big interview, navigating an unfamiliar place, & stepping into the unknown. Ultimately, your world isn’t going to end no matter what the universe throws your way, but it’s always comforting to hear that from somebody else.
3. DREAM BIG
I used to think that by my “early twenties” I’d have it all figured out. After recently turning 22, I’m glad that this is not the case. For most of my life, I’ve gotten used to one constant after another — growing up in the same town my parents did, then four years of college just barely an hour away. Now, I finally feel like I have the rest of my life ahead of me to look forward to. Will I spend a year living on an island, working in a remote hospital somewhere in the rainforest? Rent a loft apartment overlooking the city, with high ceilings & a brick wall in my bedroom? Take a trip to Thailand, join a yoga retreat & find my inner zen? The promise of change means that the possibilities are endless.
4. LET GO
This one’s harder than it sounds. There’s a quote by Anne Frank, “What a wonderful thought it is that some of the best days of our lives haven’t happened yet” — this rings so true to me, especially now. I often find myself looking back on past memories through rose-colored glasses; holding moments on a pedestal & imagining them to have been better or more significant than they actually felt to me at the time. I have a hard time opening myself up to change because I’m afraid that it means replacing old relationships, summers, & laughs with new ones. I’m still learning what it means to let go & look ahead. Remind yourself that one day you’ll look back on THESE DAYS as the best days.
Why not enjoy them right now?
Instead of fearing what lies ahead, make the conscious effort to step outside of your comfort zone & embrace the chaos around you. & when all else fails, find a way to laugh through the changes as they come.