At my recent wedding, my dad mentioned in his toast how the Herzberger family is not particularly skilled at how to deal with change. This is kind of like one of those running jokes in the family where it’s funny, but not really.
Here’s a snapshot of what my life has looked like growing up and how much change my family has gone through in the past 25 years.
- We moved into the house I grew up in when I was 2. My parents still live there.
- Since I was about 5 or 6 we’ve been vacationing at the same place every single year. We do the same things, go to the same restaurants, have the same schedule, every. single. year.
- Dinner was on the table at 6:30pm every night of the weekday (excluding Friday, because that’s really the weekend anyway).
- In the fall, every Saturday afternoon was spent watching the Ohio State Buckeyes. No exceptions.
- We joke that my sister will buy the house we grew up in, because she can’t stand to see someone else live in it. Again, it’s only kind-of sort-of a joke.
- Of my immediate extended family on both sides of the family (aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.), only one aunt lives in a different state other then Ohio. Almost everyone lives within 60 miles of where they grew up.
- My dad still works for the same company he worked for when he graduated from law school.
You get the gist. Basically, I’m the odd one out. Also, today we live in a very different world then previous generations.
Over the course of the past 5 years I’ve lived in 5 different states.
I ate dinner last night at 9:00pm (gasp!).
My schedule changes daily.
And within the past month I got married, traveled internationally on our honeymoon, bought a house, and moved.
I know a thing or two about change, but that doesn’t mean that I’m wonderful at it. I’d like to think I’ve at least become a little bit better at managing it.
Ride the wave of seasonal change
This time of year, change is in the air in a major way. It’s a change of seasons as kids head back to school and summer vacation winds down. Depending on where you live, the weather might start to change as well. Of all the seasonal changes, this one seems to warrant a particularly unpleasant amount of upheaval and resistance.
For some companies, it’s a new fiscal year. And for almost everyone, schedules start to change in some way, large or small.
I was speaking with a colleague of mine a few days back asking her about her new job. She recently left her corporate job to try out self-employment. When I asked her how things were going, she responded cautiously and mentioned that if someone would have told her how much anxiety she would feel, how much would be left uncertain, how slow things would go at first, she might not have left.
This conversation reminded me how change never really ends or stops. It keeps on coming and all we can do is get more comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Another big change is on the horizon for a couple places I work. One company is opening a slew of new studios, meaning lots of managements shifts and schedule changes for existing and new instructors. Another studio is going through a rebrand, which comes along with the challenge to educate existing clients about the changes and ensure everyone that everything is going to be okay.
Change is a good thing
As with any change, there is always backlash from someone. Someone will think the changes are good and someone will think the changes are not so good. Whether or not the changes are good or bad doesn’t really matter. What matters is how you react to the change and how it affects your life.
Can you go with the flow or will you resist? Will you refuse to eat dinner at any time other then 6:30pm simply because that is all you’ve every known or will you keep your mind open to new possibilities knowing that you can always choose to go back if the new way doesn’t work for you?
Becoming comfortable with discomfort may be the biggest thing yoga has taught me. A lot of yoga poses are uncomfortable. For me, Shoulder Stand, Plow, Chair, and hip openers like Runner’s Lunge are incredibly uncomfortable. I breathe through them anyway. I go deeper if I can and if I can’t I listen to my body and back out when the time is right.
In the past, if confronted with an uncomfortable situation, I might have walked away or avoided the situation until it went away. Today, I’m a little more savvy. Sometimes, when there is too much going on, I revert to my old ways but then I catch myself trying to run away from the discomfort. I have to remind myself to face it head on.
To grow we must move forward
There is a quote that I can’t seem to find that says something along the lines of if you’re comfortable, you’re no longer trying.
This isn’t to say you should never be comfortable, but it is to say that true personal growth comes from working through your discomfort.
Are you experiencing change in your life? Have you felt uncomfortable lately (I know, the stars and planets have been all weird and stuff)? Bring your awareness to how you’re dealing with that discomfort and be gentle with yourself. Try not to judge. Try not to analyze too much. See if you can let things be just as they are and move forward.
So how to deal with change you ask? Start by noticing how you react. Then consciously choose to keep an open mind and a level head. From there, keep flexing your discomfort muscle and practice being at peace with things as they are. I’m right there with you getting used to a new home!
A teacher trainee in the Teacher Training program I just led shared this quote with me:
“We are not going in circles, we are going upwards. The path is a spiral; we have already climbed many steps” -Herman Hesse
Where is your path leading you?
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