A co-worker made an interesting observation when I was grousing about the existential crisis I seemed to be going through. We were talking about the stages and changes of life. I was lamenting the fact I seemed to be poised on the edge of something but didn’t know what the something was. There seemed to be a change coming, but what kind?
“Maybe you haven’t had many changes lately.” my co-worker commented. “Maybe your next change is no change.”
The thought stopped me in my mental tracks. No change?
Really? I was completely surprised by the idea. Is it possible?
Life is change, or so the popular platitude goes. And, truthfully, it is … everything is always changing. Sometimes – most of the time – on a scale we see and interact with, but sometimes it’s slow and off to the side.
I have issues with change. Basically, in a nutshell, I don’t like it. Stability is my middle name (or would be if it wasn’t Elisabeth). But when nothing changes, things begin to stagnate. Life becomes stale. As much as I gripe about change, it is the breath of life. It’s what propels us forward. It’s just that, much of the change I’ve experienced has been on the traumatic and life upending side.
Psychologist will tell you the most significant changes include getting divorced, job loss, major illness, death, and moving. There are more, of course, but those are the ones I’m focused on because I ran through those five in a relatively short period of time. After a while, I felt like a tennis ball between the Williams sisters. Change was really slamming me around. One particularly strong lob landed me in Northern Virginia where the “fun” continued.
I was living in a hotel with my two dogs, one of which became mysteriously ill and died after racking up medical bills approaching $10,000 (not an exaggeration) , and six weeks into my new job, the contract I moved up to work on changed companies which meant I’d soon be unemployed again!
Is it any wonder the word “change” does not fill me with positive vibes?
Amazingly (to me) I landed on my feet. The company who won the contract offered me a job and I found a place to live. My surviving dog adjusted to life without skipping a beat. But, true to life, the changes continued. I’ve had further career modifications but am still with the same company. I’ve lost one dog to cancer, but adopted another.
Even as God as looked out for me (a concept I’m still struggling with, and the subject for another blog), I find myself constantly on alert. Always on the lookout for the slightest hint of change and convinced that doing so will protect me from a nasty surprise.
It doesn’t work like that. Constantly being on guard doesn’t protect you from anything. It may, some small percent of the time, give you a little bit of a heads up – but the majority of the time it is spent on the lookout for nothing. Or worse, it might do the opposite, blinding you to opportunities right in front of you. Being, as I am, so fixated on what could be coming around the corner, who knows what I walk right by?