There is something about this time of year that always makes me think about change. Maybe it’s the nature of fall with the changing leaves and temperature; though in Southern California we really don’t experience that except if the Santa Ana winds come in and then we experience a very different fall from the rest of the country. Maybe it’s because my birthday was last month. I enjoy my birthday and I look forward to getting older (it’s a privilege not everyone gets to experience), but getting older comes with changes – to your body, to your financial situation, to your work situation, to your family etc. Every year my birthday forces me to reflect on my life and what changes do I want to make or that I need to make to get where I want to be.
I have always embraced change and seen it as a good thing. Of course, there are times when I may wish I didn’t have to go through a certain change but it has always turned out for the best. Or I have learned from it. Constantly learning is something I am striving for in my everyday life. Life is constantly changing and it takes so much energy to fight those changes. My energy and time have better uses than fighting it. Dan Millman, author of the Way of the Peaceful Warrior, wrote, “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but building the new.” I certainly agree with this.
But that doesn’t mean that I always easily accept change. Little changes can really get to me and irritate me. Last year I started listening to the podcast Happier with Gretchen Rubin. She talked a lot about her Four Tendencies and I decided to take the quiz to determine which tendency I was. It turns out I am a questioner. One of the things I learned about being a questioner from her podcast and her book, Better Than Before is that questioners are more willing to do something or to accept a change if they know the reason behind it. I find this is definitely true for me. I have a hard time accepting change if I don’t know the reason behind it. And sometimes when I do know the reason but don’t agree that it should have changed, I still won’t accept it (that’s also a questioner thing). An example would be the superfluous stop sign the city of San Diego put at the corner of Florida and Zoo Place. There is absolutely no need for this stop sign and actually makes traffic worse and more confusing than it was before. I can wax poetic for hours about how much I hate this stop sign. Another example would be that my company has installed all new printers this past week. Now when you hit print, you have to go to the printer, scan your badge and tell it to print what you just told it to print. WHY?!?!?!?!
Why do I let this little changes irritate me so? Why do I fixate on them and not let it go? Do I need things to grumble about to anyone who will listen? I don’t know why. I honestly can’t tell you why I can’t let the stop sign issue go (because it’s not needed!!!). Maybe it’s because I drive down that road every day and I am reminded every day why I hate it and that it shouldn’t be there. Maybe it’s because that road is 50 MPH and I feel that they should change the speed to reflect the stop sign (it is a really hard stop). It’s not going anywhere and I should learn to let it go but I don’t know how to go about doing that.
What these little, annoying changes do for me is to remind me that everything changes. Nothing ever stays the same. There are times when I just want to freeze a moment and have nothing change from it. I want my nephews to stay young and cute forever. I want my mom and my cats to not get older. I want my friends to always be here. I want to always be here for them. I think it’s why I always like to take pictures when I am with friends or of my nephews or of my cats. It’s why I took so many pictures when I was in Ireland instead of enjoying the moment. I want to have that moment last forever. But it can’t. And that’s the beauty, the sadness, the heartache, and the joy of change.
Your fellow traveler,
Photo Credit: Paul Bica