As I thought about how I would answer this question, I realized there’s not a simple clear cut answer for me. I feel differently about different kinds of change. For example: Big changes versus small changes. Change that I instigate versus change that is out of my control. Change that feels exciting and welcome versus change that takes me out of my comfort zone.
On the surface, people might say that I embrace change. I am someone who likes to shake things up. I’ve moved a lot over the years, trying out new cities, new homes and even new countries. These last 4 years in Mexico have been a tremendous adventure. I had a great career in advertising that lasted over 30 years, but during that time, I tried on new roles and ran different types of businesses. While I didn’t jump around a lot from agency to agency, I sought out new opportunities so my career path never felt static.
So does this mean I love change? Yes, on many levels I do. But certain kinds of change can drive me crazy. Sometimes, the smallest changes make me incredibly anxious. For example, the client who changes the deadline at the last minute or the broken sink that all of a sudden requires immediate attention or recently, our accountant calling the day before taxes were due needing more information (why didn’t he ask for this info weeks ago??). Ugh. These little blips frustrate me far more than they should.
The annoyance comes because these kinds of changes are outside of my control. The changes that happen to me versus the changes I make myself create anxiety. It’s a control issue. I want to be in charge and clearly, this is not always possible.
We’re about to go through a major change. We are leaving Cabo after four amazing years here and moving back to the States to be closer to family. I’m incredibly excited as we’re building a home – I’ve never done that before. And on top of building it, we will be furnishing it from scratch as we sold our Cabo house furnished. With all the excitement though, I’m anxious about the things I can’t control. The drive up the Baja, delays in construction, worries about whether we’ll like our new hometown, internet set up (I need a wifi connection as it’s my lifeline for work!) and the list goes on.
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.” This is a go-to for me when I’m feeling stressed about changes that I can’t control. Talking it out helps too. My husband is an incredible listener. He reminds me to focus on the positives. I also remind myself that I have a choice – I can stay stuck on the little stuff or choose to move on.
Not everyone is like me…thank goodness! Some people avoid big changes at all costs as that kind of change stresses them out beyond belief. But they can roll with the small stuff better than I can. Some people just handle anxiety better overall. How do you deal with change? Are there different kinds of change that you embrace and other types you avoid? Asking yourself these questions can help you create strategies to more effectively manage through the changes that create stress in your life. On a final note, “worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you very far.” I like being in the rocking chair sometimes, but I don’t want to stay there forever.