Over the years, I’ve often viewed myself as someone who hates change.
Someone who prefers routine and certainty and creating a life that feels comfortable and then doing everything in my power to hold on to that level of comfort.
But that’s not entirely true.
I am not someone who hates change. In fact, if I look back at so many of the choices I’ve made in my adult life, particularly in the last 15 years or so, it seems like I’m someone who actively seeks out change. Who is more than willing to upend the life I’m living to see if another life suits me better. Who goes after the things I want and, even though I’m usually terrified while doing it, can’t push away the feeling that what I desire is within my reach.
In the grand scheme of things, I think I actually crave change. The problem arises when I have to deal with the consequences of those changes.
When I get what I want, what I asked for, what I worked for but it’s harder than I thought. When it’s more challenging than I imagined. When it doesn’t look or feel the way I believed it would.
When I start to complain or stress about my new circumstances and everyone around me says, “But isn’t this what you wanted?” I struggle to explain that yes, it is what I wanted but I didn’t want it “like this.” You know?
I didn’t know it would feel this way. I didn’t know I would feel this way.
I wanted the picture in my head. The story I had told myself. But what I got was messy and imperfect, a chang-ier change than I had expected.
So what do I do? I try to create more change. I try to fix what feels uncomfortable. I try to make the reality of my situation look more like the picture I had in my head—and we all know that never ends up well.
And so continues the cycle of craving change and then struggling to soften into it.
I recently came across a Pema Chödrön quote that is helping me put my complicated relationship with change into perspective. Maybe it can do the same for you:
“The essence of life is that it’s challenging. Sometimes it is sweet, and sometimes it is bitter. Sometimes your body tenses, and sometimes it relaxes or opens. Sometimes you have a headache, and sometimes you feel 100 percent healthy. From an awakened perspective, trying to tie up all the loose ends and finally get it together is death, because it involves rejecting a lot of your basic experience. There is something aggressive about that approach to life, trying to flatten out all the rough spots and imperfections into a nice smooth ride.”