How To…Accept Change in an ever-changing world.
“The only thing that is constant is change” – Heraclitus
My life is foreign to me at the moment (click About for more information on my background). I am a sailor in uncharted waters. Mentally I can feel my survival instincts have kicked into overdrive. My mind wants to protect me from this uncomfortable feeling. It attempts to provide me control of the helm as the wheel of this vessel spins out of control.
I clean the house, daily. Rearrange rooms. Set schedules for myself to eat six times a day, exercise and walk the dogs at certain times. Find community groups I can engage in so I can put it on my calendar and look forward to it as the days draw near. I research jobs I know I am qualified for and can make a six-figure income, but do not apply because I know it will not be fulfilling. Yet I do it almost daily to convince myself I am being productive.
After coming back from Iraq, I attended a veteran’s support group. Each attending veteran had served in either Iraq or Afghanistan. However, there were always two veterans present in each group that acted as mentors.
These mentors were combat veterans of the Vietnam war. Vietnam veterans who wanted to help younger soldiers. They were fully aware of the hardships and stress associated with reintegration into society. When they came back home, they were not met with open arms as soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan had been afforded. Vietnam veterans were called “baby killers” and other expletives. They would rarely, if ever, reveal their veteran status due to the negative reactions they would receive.
After one session, I asked one of the mentors, “When will my life go back to normal?”
His response, “…this is your new normal.”
In those words, I realized life has changed. I was not in Kansas anymore and clicking of my heels three times would not take me back to when things were normal. This was my new normal.
As consistent as the sun rises each morning, change is again before me. My new normal would change yet again.
Right now, I am in the eye of the tornado sort of speak.
Allow me to be overdramatic here, but I am grasping for any lifeline to help me regain control of the spiraling world around me.
Previously when life spun out of control, what did I do? Simple, I attempted to control the parts I could. This would give me some resemblance of control back in my life. Sometimes I would intentionally self-sabotage things in my life in order to provide myself with a familiar pain versus the foreign pain or uncomfortableness I was experiencing.
Right now, I need an enemy. Someone or something I can fight.
I pick fights with those close to me just to have an outlet for my frustration.
Give me something I KNOW how to do because I don’t know what I am doing right now. In the past, when I searched for purpose, I would set my goal for an adrenaline rushing career field. At the end of each goal setting journey, I was still empty inside.
I am uncomfortable.
I am lost.
I do not have control.
In order to solve any problem, I have to identify or acknowledge there is a problem and/or issue that needs to be addressed. The enemy, the someone, the something, I have been looking for all this time has been right in front of me the whole time. That person is ME.
(Click link to read a great poem by Danna Faulds)
I have identified something is awry in my life. Psychologically I want to protect myself from the pain I am feeling. But going into survival mode is not what is required right now. My life is not out of control. My life is evolving. My journey is taking me to places I have never been before. The unknown can be scary. But I must remind myself that I need to be comfortable being uncomfortable.
I repeat. Sometimes sequentially, sometimes not. Sometimes maybe one, sometimes three or four.
But afterwards, I feel different. Instead of feeling in despair, I feel optimistic. I did not attempt to contain the feelings and emotions that were trying to make their way to the surface. I am not the adolescent boy anymore taught to not cry and told to just “suck it up”. I am being human. I am showing gratitude and compassion for myself. I am no longer suppressing me but my oppression is focused towards my imagined inadequacy.
Life looks different to me now. Life feels different to me now.
If you want to live a different life, then be different in your life.
I trust that I am exactly where I was meant to be at this moment. But I understand that this moment too will change. We struggle because we do not let life happen organically. We try and control our lives, chase dreams that were never meant for us but for the person we thought we wanted to be. We must follow the signs that are presented to us each and every day. Many of us miss these signs because we are too caught up in things that do not matter. We are glued to our phones and miss what is right in front of us.
Yes, I can go get a job doing what I did before. But I will be unhappy just as I was before.
“If you want something you have never had, you must be willing to do something you have never done.” – unknown
I have learned to never regret anything because at one time it was exactly what I wanted. Time is a commodity that can never be replaced. We all want more of it, yet when we have it, we don’t know what to do with it.
So I embrace this moment because I know, this moment too will change.