NOTE: This post is different from my usual format. I started out with the topic of “change”. Before I started writing I didn’t know what I was going to say or where I was going with this.
Changes. There are people who think that I am afraid of change. I sometimes tend to believe them. I look at the overwhelming evidence and I start to believe their narrative. I have been at the same place of employment for 18 years, when I had an apartment I was there for about 10 years, I have been at the same church for 26 years, I have helped out with the same youth group for over 24 years, my favorite vacation spot has been the same for the past 10 years, and I eat at the same place almost every day for lunch. But is this really evidence that I don’t like change? I would argue that the opposite is true. But before I get to that I will ask you the reader, why change? If things are going well and you have no reason to change, what is your motivation for doing something new? Are you uncomfortable staying in one place for too long? Or how about this question: Do you see changes in your current environment that makes you uneasy and you want to leave?
Let’s explore that for a second. There are times in my life that I have wanted to make a change because things were changing too fast around me. It’s kind of like the “pull the Band-Aid” scenario. Have you ever had a Band-Aid that was on for so long that it seemed to have merged with your skin? You start pulling on it and it looks like your skin is going to rip off so you stop for a moment but eventually that Band-Aid has to come off so you rip it really quick. It hurts for a moment but you got the Band-Aid off and now you don’t have to worry about it anymore. Sometimes when you get used to something being a certain way for so long, when something major changes that is out of your control, it is scary and it hurts. So some people will do their version of rip the Band-Aid and just flee from the situation. “It is too painful to stay so I am going to leave”. Would you say that this person who leaves is comfortable with change? I would argue not anymore than someone who stays. They may not want to deal with the pain of staying. Is it wrong for them to leave? Not at all. My point is that someone who stays and accepts the change is no less afraid of change than the person who leaves.
Even though change is hard I would like to be one who helps makes sure it is a change for the better. Granted, I am not very good at dealing with anxiety and I hate feeling out of control. Having a change in routine can make me feel a loss of control but with that said, change will happen and I need to guide it and help it be for the better.
So now we are entering a new year, 2017. There are changes that I promised myself and others that I would make and I have failed. I have made some important changes in recent years but there is much more that I need to do. I promised I would take better care of both my health and my finances and I haven’t done well with either. So if I choose not to change, my health will get worse and I will have to take several medications. If my financial situation continues to deteriorate, it will make it harder to be free from the banks. In both of these situations if I fail to make a change, change will happen anyway. It always does. Nothing every stays the same. I need to finally make a plan to change for the better and when I make that plan I need to stick with it.
It is interesting how it is much easier to give advice to others than it is to yourself. The only way I listen to my own advice is if I write a note to myself. So here it is… Josh, in 2017 you will make a plan to control what you eat, make a budget (and stick to it), don’t stress over the things you can’t control, and realize that there is a time for work and a time to refresh. It’s not bad that you are at the same locations you have been at for nearly 2 decades because those locations don’t look the same as they did back then… they have changed and you have changed along with them. So move forward and be the director of positive change for yourself and the people whom you care about. And if it is time for you to go, (which I have no plans to do so at this time) you need to do it for the right reasons.