Change can be scary, but it’s Almost Always for the Best

Foreword: This was a very vulnerable article for me to write and post, but I wanted to share my experience, and I hope by doing this, I can help others who might be going through changes. I also want to give a quick shoutout to Erin Sousa, my Co-Campus Correspondent, who has inspired me to be more authentic in my writing! 

Part one:

I absolutely hate change! Ask anyone who knows me because they will tell you. Even the slightest changes bother me.

When I was younger, I always wore sneakers because they were comfy, but because I wore them all the time, I shredded them to pieces. My mom would take me to the store to buy new sneakers, but I would throw a fit and refuse. Almost every year, she would have to sneakily throw out my old shoes so I couldn’t wear them anymore. See – such a simple change – but I couldn’t stand it. I hated the idea of breaking in new shoes; I just wanted my comfy old ones.

Here I am at 21-years-old still terrible at transitions, and can’t seem to go with the flow. It takes a lot to even recognize and own up to your flaws, so at least I’ve done that. I will be the first to admit that I wish things could just stay the same most times. But that would be BORING. Over the last few months, I have experienced an abundance of changes, and I think I may finally be learning to let go a little bit. I’m coming to realize that change is necessary and is usually for the best.

The other day I came across this quote:

“Change is hard at first, messy in the middle, and gorgeous at the end.”

I needed to hear that! I needed to be reminded that it’s okay to admit that change is hard, but you still need to push through so it can result in a better outcome. I think change is also about trusting the process and having faith in the uncertainty.

I thrive off routine, and for the past three years, my routine has remained the same, for the most part. During the week, I attend my classes at Stonehill and live on campus. Most weekends, I come home to hang out with my parents and work on Sundays. Yes, I know you are probably questioning that sentence, but I love spending time with my parents because they know me so well. Some weeks vary, for example, now and then, we will drive to New York City to visit my brother. All in all, our family routine has been consistent, avoiding drastic changes…until now.

Part two:

A very sudden change occurred this past week. For the past several months, my dad has been applying to new jobs. On Monday, he received a phone call and was offered a job! He accepted and will be moving to Virginia to start the position in two weeks.

As much as I am proud and happy for him – I recognize this is a huge and relatively quick change – that I’m not sure I’m ready for. For the first time, my family will be completely split up. All four of us in four different locations. My mom will remain at our house in Rhode Island, I will be at Stonehill in Massachusetts, my brother will most likely remain in New York City, and my dad will be living in Virginia. I’m very close with my family, so of course, I don’t like the idea of us being split up, but I know it’s for the best.

It’s the start of something new! My family and I have lived in Rhode Island for the last 15 years. More than half of my life. So, it’s practically all I know. Eventually, when my mom finds a job in Virginia, we will sell our home in Rhode Island, and she will join my dad. Dad’s move in two weeks marks the beginning of an end. It’s bittersweet. I will always consider Rhode Island home because it’s where my friends and job are. As much as a house holds memories, it is not a home without people. I’m coming to realize my mom, dad, and brother are my home. Wherever they are, I will be happy to visit them and call them home.

Part three:

So, initially, I was going to write this article about how a man should treat a woman. And how my dad is the reason I have high standards and will expect nothing less from anyone. This idea came about when I received a text from my dad one morning a few weeks ago. To preface, the night before I received the text, I was talking to my parents, explaining my plans for the next day. I told them that I was worried that I might not have enough gas for my long drive. It was late, so I said I would get up early to stop at the gas station on the way. I thought nothing of the conversation – in our family, we always communicate our plans to one another, so we are all on the same page. Well, the following day, I woke up to a text message from my dad saying:

“I gassed ur car this morning. Have a fun day!”

At the moment, I didn’t think too much of the text. Obviously, I was incredibly grateful for this small gesture because I never asked him to fill up my gas, I was just venting per usual. The fact that I thought nothing of this small gesture shows how incredible my dad is! I’m accustomed to being treated this way because he does this kind of stuff all the time. Now, as I reflect on his text message with new information - knowing my dad is about to leave and start a new chapter - I feel sad. If you know how much I hate pumping gas, then you would know how sad I am that my dad won’t be home to do it anymore. But in all seriousness, my dad does so much for my family. He probably doesn’t even realize half the things he does. I know I’m so lucky even to have a dad that treats me so well, but I’m going to miss all the little things he does to make my day.

I think I’ve been struggling with this change because of how atypical and reversed the situation is. Usually, parents watch their kids grow up and leave the house. I’ve always thought of my parents as a stable home base, even when my brother and I left for college. So, it’s weird to see my dad starting a new chapter, but I know it’s going to be an amazing chapter! In some ways, I feel like a proud parent, waving him off to his new job. He was always there for Sean and I’s new beginnings, so I want to support him through this new journey.

Part four:

Dad,

As you know, writing is the best way I communicate my feelings, so this article is a thank you for everything you have done not only for me but also for mom, Sean, and you can’t forget Maggie (our sweet labradoodle who will probably miss you the most). You have supported me since the day I was born. Dad, I know I might not always show it, and I definitely don’t say it enough, but I appreciate everything you do for me. I would never be in the position I am now if it weren’t for you and mom constantly pushing me.

I know you aren’t leaving us forever, and we will still see each other (just not as often as we usually do), but I still wanted to take this opportunity to reflect on some of my favorite memories of us and just a few of the selfless deeds you do for me:

  • Thank you for waking me up every morning before school, so I didn’t have to set an alarm. And for not getting mad when I would fall back to sleep, which always happened!
  • Thank you for driving Sean and I to school every morning, so we had more time to get ready and didn't have to take the bus.
  • Thank you for always holding my hand in the parking lot and keeping me safe when I was younger.
  • Thank you for carrying me up from the car to my bed when I fell asleep on car rides home.
  • Thank you for always holding the door open for me.
  • Thank you for always saying “bye beautiful” or “have a good day beautiful” before you hang up the phone.
  • Thank you for always noticing when I get a new haircut or when I’m wearing new clothes and complimenting me. Even when I get annoyed by your compliments, you continue to do it out of love.
  • Thank you for driving me to all my soccer games over the years, for taking pictures, and for listening to my rants on the car rides home. Oh, and for helping me take off my gross, smelly, sweaty socks and shin guards – now that is love!
  • Thank you for always having a spare jacket or sweatshirt to offer me when I get cold because I get cold a lot!
  • Thank you for staying home and taking care of me whenever I’m sick.
  • Thank you for always getting up in the middle of the night to check on me.
  • Finally, thank you for always inspiring and encouraging me to keep pursuing my passion for writing, even when I don’t believe in myself. And thank you for being my personal copy editor. Every writer needs an editor, and I have the best of them all!

The list could go on and on, but hopefully, you get the point. I also hope you realize from reading this list that you are the reason my standards are so high. Not sure how I am supposed to find someone who treats me better than you do or even equally. You set the bar quite high!

As much as I am struggling with this significant change, I’m trying to reflect on the positives because I know in the long run it will be for the best! I’m so incredibly proud of you for landing this job, I know you worked hard! I know you will be happier at this job. I know you will be closer to old friends! And on the bright side, I have a reason to travel to my favorite city – Washington D.C.!

On to bigger and better things! Don’t miss me too much dad! And know that I will be following you to Virginia in a year, immediately after graduation! You can’t get rid of me that easily!

Sincerely,

Kelly - Forever and always your little girl <3

Father and daughter at wedding. Courtesy of Kelly Lewis

Kelly & Dad - 2002