Why not, you ask? What does change even mean?
What does it take to ‘change’? Less-than-ideal blood test results? Relationships strained and tested? Another unproductive day at home or at work? The look on your child’s face after you’ve raised your voice at them one too many times? A few less digits in the bank account? A few more digits on the scales? A global catastrophe? A passing away of a loved one? Becoming a parent?
After a hectic few months, I’ve been going over the mysterious concept of change in my head recently. It’s often implied that we control it. On one hand we wield change with confidence; we can get a different haircut, eat at a different restaurant, drive a different route to work, choose what to watch and when. And on the other hand, we pale in our efforts to steer the course of change; try as we might, we cannot stop the leaves from falling, the sun from rising and setting, time from moving forward, people from changing. Things keep happening, regardless of what we do.
Oh our kids, they really are a constant reminder for us that change exists even without our constant deliberation. The very moment we blink, our children become taller, more clever, surprise us with their new skills, and become unto their own.
Maybe, that’s just it. By accepting that things are in a perpetual state of change, perhaps the challenge this whole time is not to try to control all the change happening in our lives, but to discover and understand the lessons that these changes bring, and how to adapt to them.
With all of this change going on in our lives, how often do we actually find meaning, how often do we… grow?
What have we learnt from the changes that happen in our lives?
We continually obsess about making a change in our lives for the better, that things will be different “this time”. Then we get complacent, take an easy exit route. Retreat to the same behaviours that mask the original urge to ‘change’. And then we’re back to square one. Curse you, lizard brain.
How many new year’s resolutions have we conveniently forgotten about already? How many times have I said that I can’t or won’t, because (insert excuse here)? Can I honestly tell myself that’s the reason?
I filled in my PDR at work recently. I was reminded of what I set out to do, and what I am accountable for achieving throughout the year. It startled me to realise that we go through this process of evaluation, strategy and goal setting at work, yet we might not take to the rest of our personal and family life with the same gusto. We spend most of our waking hours striving to reach these work-related milestones and goals, but do we set up our family lives outside of work to achieve and learn in the same way?
As I reflect on what’s changed in all facets of my life over the past year, it’s become apparent to me that I’ve been thinking and doing a lot, but I haven’t felt like I’ve learnt enough. So I’ve come up with a new strategy to apply to each new day:
Navigate the change, extract the growth.
It has to start somewhere. It has to start sometime. What better place than here? What better time than now? – Zack De La Rocha
No, I don’t want to just change… I want to grow.