I have always been told that change is all a part of growing up. Nothing can stay the same forever, and as much as one may enjoy the comfort and familiarity of an environment that doesn't change, it isn't necessarily practical. For me, the majority of changes started when I entered college, and from then on change continued to occur as I found a new home for myself, created new friendships and relationships, adjusted to a new job, and all the while searching for that familiar and comfortable feeling in a completely new setting.
As a child I welcomed change. I remember not being able to sleep the night before my first day of school or a family vacation, because so much excitement bubbled inside me I found it hard to get a good night's rest. I enjoyed the change of scene, whether it be a new home, new people, or a completely new state. I remember the feeling I would get when I traveled into New York City, and all the excitement and commotion of the city was invigorating. I remember dreaming often of living in New York City for the rest of my life. There was something so magical about that city, and whenever our train would leave the NYC station, I often remember looking at the city skyline in the distance with much sadness, and longed for the days that I could return. Oddly enough, it sometimes felt more like home than home did. But I realized that as I got older the magic suddenly died, and while I did enjoy my annual trip into the city, it never felt the same (I still can't pinpoint exactly when this change began, but I remember being utterly sad and disappointed). Our train would pull away from the station after a weekend of city life and I actually felt relieved that I was going back home. I missed that old familiar feeling of my house, my neighborhood, my comfortable porch and my cozy bed. Perhaps this may have been my first clue that the inner child in me was growing up.
The older I get the more I enjoy consistency, because with that comes stability. It's amazing for me to admit this because I use to be such an advocate for change. I welcomed change at any moment, mostly when I felt that my days all mirrored each other and I longed for something more. I desperately longed for change the four years I was in college. Having been very mature for my age I realized that I wanted terribly to graduate college and finally start my life. I wanted to live in different places, meet different people, and just experience all that life had to offer. I don't ever remember change being a factor in my future planning process. I embraced change, of course. But that was when change wasn't available. I needed to finish school, there was no questioning that. So for four years I longed to move on with my life, start a career, discover myself, and travel a bit (I daydreamed often of how my life would be after school; of course, all these dreams were magnificent and overly idealistic). I felt that college held me back from this new life that I constantly pined for. But once I finally did graduate, I never felt more vulnerable and scared in my entire life. Now those college walls were no longer keeping me in and I feared the next step. I wanted my freedom, and yet here it was and now I was running the other way. I often wished I could channel my child-like feelings toward change, embrace it with open arms, so that it wouldn't be so difficult to adjust. But then again I think dealing with change is all a part of growing older, and growing up isn't always easy.
However fearful that I was, I quickly realized that if I wanted to pursue my dreams I needed to move many miles from home, in a world I had yet to even visit, let alone inhabit. While most people I knew were graduating and settling into their lives at home or in a city nearby, here I was embarking on a completely new, and albeit frightening, journey toward my new life (friends and family admired, and sometimes envied my new life journey, while I often stood by anxious and wary). I had no idea who I would encounter, the experiences I would have, or the person I would soon become. I could never possibly prepare myself for this new leash on life, so I gave caution to the wind and threw myself into it completely, with my arms wide open and my rationale thrown out the window. I didn't need the voice in the back of my head questioning my every move. I think it's easy for people to listen to that voice, that little voice of reason that reminds you what consequences may come out of your choices, that voice that doesn't want to gamble or take chances in life. And ever so often, when my heart knows exactly where it wants to go, it shuts down that little rational voice that tells me to stay in one familiar spot for the rest of my life. Perhaps it isn't rational after all to stay in one spot forever, but I realize that there is a comfort with staying in the familiar. Perhaps this is all a matter of control, and when I put myself on autopilot and allowed my heart to be my driver, I allowed myself to accept my changing fate. Change is difficult, and the older I get, and the more set in my ways I become, I realize just how much I long for stability and consistency in a ever-changing world. But, if you walk into change with an open mind and the willingness to learn more about yourself, then you will be all the better for it. While I don't embrace change with that child-like quality that I once had, I realize that it's a necessary aspect of life. Some of the biggest, and most important, aspects of my life came about through change, and I realize now that I am all the better for having experienced it.