I have never been one to like change. I like consistency and follow-throughs, not spontaneous decisions and out-of-the-blue choices. When I was younger, a change in my routine would stress me out to the point of panic. It took a lot for me to make even the simplest of changes, no matter how trivial. Whether it was an unexpected shift in my classes’ daily schedule or reorganizing my house with my mom, I came to one conclusion: I hated change.
Change makes it seem like the things we have are always going to leave us. And to a degree, it’s true; things will never be what they were once you alter them. But that’s precisely the point; the purpose of change is to make something different than how it was in the past. If anything, it’s a more-than-gentle shove towards the future.
You may not experience things to the degree that I mentioned earlier, but neither do I anymore. You can do things to help yourself overcome your aversion to change. I am here to assure you that change is not necessarily a bad thing. But first, you have to recognize that change is happening all the time.
It’s human nature to fall into a routine that we find enjoyable and manageable. Most of us enjoy predictability and the knowledge of outcomes. A trivial example is what you eat for dinner each day; chances are you are not making the same food each time. There is change in your diet, even if it appears minor.
I have found that the more noticeable small changes become, the easier it is to accept more significant shifts in your life. Habits are wonderful for keeping yourself organized and in a routine, but it doesn’t hurt to do things a little differently. Living primarily in your comfort zone won’t help you progress.
Another difficult part about change is when it comes to the people in your life. It has taken me years to understand why the same people don’t stay in your life forever. What I have realized is that not every person is a constant. There are going to be people who will come into your life only to leave later on. Is it going to hurt? Possibly. But you will heal and grow.
Think about it like your childhood toys. By the time you turn 13, chances are you won’t have the same possessions as you did when you were six. Perhaps you outgrew them or donated them to someone else; either way, you have passed along a part of your life. However, you likely kept a couple of sentimental items. Those are your constants; those things stay with you as you go about life. Constants can be people too, whether they come into your life at age six or 26. And while you grow and change and become who you are, those constants will be there to support you.
Change within yourself is difficult to accept. In high school, I hardly spoke to anyone. I could never imagine raising my hand to ask a question in class. I hated the color pink and fried eggs; I hated learning and the routine I had.
But I am none of those things anymore. I start conversations in my classes and make new friends as often as I can. I look forward to learning each day and creating a schedule for myself. And as I am writing this, I am wearing my favorite pink sweater. My point is, you can’t predict who you are going to become. Maybe you’ll find that you don’t like what you’re doing or that you want to be someone else. I want to reassure you that this is okay; change within yourself is a part of growth.
What is most important to remember is that change is temporary. It certainly does not mean that it won’t impact you; what it does mean is that it cannot last forever. Similar to time, change is an illusion—we choose how we perceive it and what we do with it.