My Struggle With Change

I’ve never been great with change. I can’t imagine a time in my life where I willingly stood there with my arms open, ready for my life to feel like it’s been flipped upside-down. I don’t mean deviation from the mundanity of everyday life; I enjoy a little adventure every now and then, and being stuck in a routine can be boring. I mean the type of change that’s brutal, the type that knocks the wind out of you and sends you reeling. It feels like your life is crashing down and the worst part is there’s no escape. Change is a train that only goes forward, and you either have to learn to adapt to it or you’ll fall apart.

I wish I could write an article that’s tips on how to deal with change or the best ways to face a scary situation. The thing is, each situation is unique and I really don’t believe there are any concrete answers. That’s terrifying, I know, but maybe at least reading what I feel will make you not feel so alone. And you aren’t alone.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

It’s funny how “change” can differ. I can be heading to college after a long summer break and feel ripped apart and thrown into a whirlpool. Everything’s happening so quickly: I’m moving out of my room at home and into one in Boston, and there’s no transition period. I have to hit the ground running. Yet, coming home for winter break leaves me with a similar feeling. I have to re-adjust to life at home after I had been so comfortable in my own pattern at school. I can’t win! It’s back-and-forth, comfortable to not comfortable, and there’s no safe medium.

I think the worst change is the one you don’t see coming. It’s not like heading to school where you know the day is coming up by the Xs on your calendar. It’s certainly not something you can plan for. Instead, it’s just there one day. You get an e-mail, a phone call, it hits you smack in the face… and what you’re expecting to happen won’t.

Take this example: I’m sitting on a train heading back to college after winter break. As I explained, that in itself is a weird, messy change that I don’t want to deal with. But at the very least I know I’ll get used to it as I always do, and I’ll have my friends and boyfriend with me. But then I get a phone call that the school made a mistake, and my boyfriend can no longer come. No longer am I just in the whirlpool of change, I’m enveloped by it. I can’t breathe, and I have to get off this train but I can’t, and I’m alone and crying and embarrassing myself and I have to step into a quiet spot in between the train cars but everyone is looking at me and one of the employees is asking if I need water and…

Photo Credit: Unsplash

I don’t like change. Who does? Maybe I struggle with it more than most people, or maybe I’m just more open about my experiences with it. Unfortunately, it’s a part of life. It’s not just one bad experience where you can take some time to process the events unfolding. It’s recurrent and has to be faced again and again.

And while that’s awful and scary, it can’t be all that bad. It’s horrible to deal with at the moment, but each time it happens it makes you stronger. A little part of you knows that you dealt with something so out of your control that you believed you couldn’t get past it, but you did. And you thrived.

I think that’s part of the key to change. While there’s no right answer in how to deal with the anxiety of it, I believe that knowing you came out stronger is part of it.

You’ve done it once and you can do it again.

 

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