I’ve been thinking a lot about change. Although the world around us is constantly changing, there are certain periods in life when change is at the forefront of the mind. I am in one of those periods. Change makes me feel excited, melancholy, wary, eager, and a little bit sad. I have always confronted new things in my life with a brave front, but a timid interior. While some people may run toward change with open arms, I tend to circle, walk toward it, take a step back, ponder, and then dash into its embrace.
Since graduating college and starting work at a “real job” in the “real world,” my life has been full of change. I lost my childhood cat and dog in the same season. It felt like the door between adulthood and childhood that had been slowly swinging shut was slammed. With a broken heart, I took their loss in stride, handling my grief by looking forward and putting my name on a list to get a new pup of my very own.
I also said goodbye to the trusty 1990 Volvo I had been driving since the beginning of college. Although cars do not have feelings, I still feel like I let the car down when we sold it back to our mechanic. It still sits in their lot, unused, with my old bumper stickers fading away. I drive past it every day in my new Toyota Prius c and look away. My change in cars represents the shift from the broke, unpredictable life of a student to the new and responsible life of a working college graduate.
In the past year I fell in love with a wonderful man. While everything else in my life was in an upheaval of change, he kept me grounded, even though his presence in my life was a change. We have been talking about the next steps in our relationship, dancing around them and then stating the obvious – we are in this for the long haul. The idea of living with him and moving out of my lifelong home brings with it feelings of excitement, giddiness, fear, and nostalgia.
While moving out is just an idea, nothing concrete, I find myself thinking about what it would be like to live somewhere else. Sure, I lived in Chestertown while at college and I lived in Hong Kong for four months while a student at Lingnan University, but my home was home. Now I am growing up and the thought of calling another place home is no longer a seed of my imagination. It is taking root into reality.
I know change will never be absent from my life, but what I have learned in the past year is that it is my decision to face change with a smile or a frown. It will always come. You cannot prevent change, you can only adjust your attitude toward it. The wary reluctance that usually peppers my thoughts on change may never leave, but I must accept its inevitability. As a rather avid planner, accepting the unexpected is difficult at times. While I may seek out change or find it tapping me on the shoulder unexpectedly, I will try to face it with optimism and courage. Thus, rather than mourn the loss of my childhood, I will look forward to the adventures adulthood with a smile.