The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
Two weekends ago I had the privilege of attending the wedding of someone very close to my family. One of my closest cousins whom I grew up with got married. Oddly enough, this was a bittersweet moment. As I watched the wedding party gracefully trot down the aisle, I began to cry. Completely overcome with emotion, I wondered why. It forced me to check in with myself.
Yes, I was extremely happy for the bride and groom. Yes, I thought the ceremony was beautiful. But once all the wedding conventions were stripped away I realized I felt sad. This event reinforced the fact that I was no longer a child. Seeing someone who held so many of my childhood memories get married so bleakly reminded me of the inevitable. Change comes no matter what.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines change as “to make different in some particular.”
Change is something that I’ve struggled with from as early on as I can remember. I’ll never forget the day I turned 16. It was the first year I cried on my birthday because, for the first time, I felt older. It’s like I finally reached the age where I could look back and distinguish between childhood and emerging adulthood. With that came the realization that you can never return to any moment that passes.
I always viewed change as something that happened to me, not something that just happened. To me, it wasn’t a neutral entity that just happened, it was a negative force I couldn’t run from. It brought on a certain type of anxiety that visits a child in a dream when they’re fleeing from a monster. No matter where they go or how loud they scream, they can’t escape the consuming monster.
Change confronts every human being on this planet.You know that saying in life, “the only things that’s guaranteed is death and taxes.” Change should be added to that.
What about change brought out the terrified inner-child in me?
The deeply rooted disdain I developed to change stems from the lack of control I have over it. In my mind, lack of control equates to danger. If I can’t control what happens to me then how am I supposed to protect myself?
Uncertainty can be difficult for everyone’s mind to process. In an article with HuffPost, licensed clinical psychologist Jessica Linick illustrated that when we face uncertainty, “our nervous systems are on high alert; they’re always looking for that risk. And when someone’s nervous system is activated that way, it produces a flight or fight response.”
Facing situations in which one can’t control can be traumatic for the body and trigger a fight for flight response. This could be one way of understanding difficulty addressing change.
It’s near impossible to know whether any kind of change will be a positive or beneficial one. The future will always be unknown. The appeal of the present lies in its indiscreet nature. Whether the current situation is bad, mediocre or good, it’s out in the open. There’s so much comfort in the things we’re familiar with.
Yet, what I’ve learned is that fear of the unknown only disturbs the present and inhibits one’s ability to achieve greater things. Worry doesn’t restore the past, it only hinders the present.