(As promised, October is the month of completing my unfinished thoughts. This blog began in October of 2016 and almost completed on January 29, 2017. The original time references remain.)
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates
In the fall of 2015, Cal Poly Agribusiness received an interim department chair and my world started to shift. And has continued to move and shake like a decent earthquake until recently. With change happening in just about every corner of my world, witnessing many others experiencing much of the same circumstances, a common thread was evident; people love to express their distaste for change.
I think change is unavoidable. If you are one who yearns for control, order and normalcy, a shift in your schedule can feel like a one, two punch to the face.
The general public as a whole, will moan in harmony with the thought change. Fear of the unknown is a very uncomfortable state, and can leave one feeling unsteady and out of sorts. My life has had so much alteration in the past two years, I don’t know what typical is anymore. The other morning, I woke up with an epiphany that inspired me to write this post. Change isn’t the bad guy, but the transition that makes one loose balance.
Navigating through an untraveled road course, with blinders on, is much like transiting from an old comfort to a new circumstance. The cause of the fear and what makes change difficult is the transition.
The old adage, when one door closes another one opens really is a truth. Stop and think of how many times your life has had interruptions, maybe for good or at the time seemed like for bad, but down the road you looked back and thought, well what was the fuss all about? Why the heck didn’t I decide to do “XYZ” sooner? Or a really difficult, heart wrenching change, turned into opening up opportunities you never knew existed.
I am here to argue the point that change is good, it is the process that causes the anxiety, strain of the unknown, and downright discomfort. Using my recent experience of changing career paths, physical addresses and basically my entire daily life, I have learned a few lessons.
My Navigation Tools for Change
- Stay in the moment. When I allowed myself to start wondering about where I was going to be sleeping the following week, what was happening to my house in Paso Robles, or would I ever find a permanent location, anxiety and panic would start knocking on my minds door. But if I stayed in the now, focused on a few days at a time it didn’t seem so daunting.
- Remove all expectations. Similar to number one, I did all I could to stop my wondering mind. Why? There is a good chance you will end up being disappointed. I kept telling myself if it is meant to be, it is meant to be. For example, when searching for a new residence, I quickly discovered finding a rental was tougher than I had expected. So I decided to physically make a list of “must haves”. Tier one, short commute, natural light, two bedrooms, enough outdoor space for herbs and plants and a place for a washer and dryer. Extra special bonus features would include a gas stove, garage and no carpet. Removing time to let my mind conjure up visions of grandeur or even worst case outcomes, made the process less daunting.
- Change is a marathon, not a sprint. Remember to breath and allow time to run its course. As an efficient minded person who loves a good checklist and prefers to know the ending of a movie before it even begins, this was tough. Patience and I don’t always see eye to eye. But through this progression the realization that when you click along at a record pace, one misses the chance to catch all the opportunities.
But this time I didn’t have the ability to be in a hurry. I had to endure the transition and low and behold, the change has been fabulous. Empty nest mom, living by the beach and getting my choice of nightly dinner selections, has been overwhelmingly therapeutic.
Perfect example of applying my new formula, is my dining room set. If you would have told me a week ago that I would spend the weekend refinishing dining room chairs, I would have said right. Heck, I didn’t even own a chair a week ago. But from trash to treasure here I am today.
I think the best place to begin the story is, the chairs chose me one afternoon at work. I spent 30 minutes on Pinterest Friday night, which directed me to a store to purchase paint. The store owner was late, so instead of pacing outside the locked door, I wondered across the street to the antique mall. And what before my wondering eyes appeared, but old coffee bean sacks, with a cool design and even cooler price tag. With chalk paint, brush and stapler in hand, I was off to races.
Now mark my word, if I started off looking for white distressed chairs with burlap or better yet old coffee bean bag cushions, my expectations would have been smashed. But living in this new frame of mind that allows time to send out to the universe a message that I am here waiting and enjoying the process. Low and behold, just like amazon prime it drops little pieces of life at my door steps.
“Trust the wait. Embrace the uncertainty. Enjoy the beauty of becoming. When nothing is certain, anything is possible.” – Unknown
(Update, I completed the dining room look with an old table I refinished in another weekend. My place is still not completely furnished, but I did grow my first crop of tomatoes on the balcony. The last year has truly been one of the most peaceful and rewarding in my professional career. I have had the opportunity to flex my creative arm, learn lots and still have time to wonder the beach in search of new blog ideas.)