These are ever-changing times. However, humans are so resistant to change even though we were meant to evolve. When I was in college, a Chicago radio station’s motto was “change is the only constant.”
No one wants to be a forever infant, toddler, child or teenager. However, when we enter adulthood, a curious thing happens. At a certain point, we no longer embrace or look forward to change. We do all we can to make sure things stay the same. Just as our childhood had phases of development/transitions, the same is true of our adult life. Our early 20s are full of life, hope and believing we are the agents of change. In our 30s, we start to settle down, look for mates, start families. By our 40s, we start to look back and wonder where has all the time gone. Maybe it is regret or longing for what never happened that we start to become resistant to change. Our youth is gone, but there is a depth of wisdom and maturity that we lacked in our 20s and 30s. The economy is not what we anticipated. This is not what we expected at this stage in our life. I think that causes some to become bitter, angry and fearful. I hear many of my peers, a lot of attorneys, complain about how they don’t have the lifestyle they used to have or how the current economy was not what they bargained for when they went knee debt in law school debt. One person cannot get over that she no longer shops Fifth Avenue, but now shops Target (to her dismay). She is not poor by any means, but her reduced circumstances due to the economy makes her feel as if she is impoverished. She is quick to tell her “Green Acres” plight to anyone who will or will not listen.
“When the door of happiness closes, another opens, but often times we look so long at the closed door that we don’t see the one which has been opened for us.”
I am single and happily unmarried, no kids. I came out of the womb full of ambition and dreams – dreams that did not equal my social standing or finances at birth. However, I dreamt big fantastical dreams. When I turned 38, I realized that the law was not going to provide me the stability that I had hoped for and that maybe it was time to seek a career change. Now, I did complain about my situation beforehand. But I always say that it takes more energy to complain about a problem than it does to fix it. After thinking long and hard, I thought about all the things I wanted to do – dreams deferred. I decided it was now or never. For my 38th birthday, I sent a letter to my close circle of friends and mentors that outlined dreams/goals that I had not verbalized. Most responded, “wow, how will you do this but if anyone can do it, you’d be the one to figure it out.” My one friend (I call her my one woman pep squad) replied, “okay, I like it so how do we get this off paper to reality – I am ready if you are.” That was scary. Now it was time to put word in action. Would I put up or shut up?
I came up with all the reasons why it would be impractical. I’m not a spring chicken anymore. Packing up and moving some place to follow a dream is silly at my age. However, I always said that I didn’t want to get to the end of my life and wonder what would have happened if I just tried. My dad would always say, “the only thing that beats a failure is a try.” Being single with no kids actually works to my benefit. I could easily pack up and pursue dreams, not that it would be without financial discomfort. However, I was settled and felt comfortable in the niceties of my apartment and familiarity of my surroundings. Who was this person? Surely, not the 20 something that moved every 2-3 years and would pack up for a better opportunity at the drop of a hat. I got used to “things.” Would I let “things” and the familiarity of my known surroundings prevent me from chasing dreams? I wrestled with this for a few months. Yes there would be obstacles and struggles, but that is true for anything regardless of age. Would I adapt and change or would I die slowly holding on to the familiarity of “things”?
Well, I decided that I should evolve to the next stage of my life and embrace the challenges. I’m no spring chicken, but what I lack in youth I more than compensate in wisdom and maturity. So I am picking up roots from my beloved city and moving on. I’m all packed, sold/donated the “things” that made me feel bound to my surroundings and ready to embrace the unknown. Where? You’ll have to stay tuned to find out.
One of the things I did as part of my new resolve was start this blog. Again, at the urging of my friend who said stop sending out emails about what you think and put it out there for the world to see. Another issue to be dealt with. I like the security and comfort of just emailing my circle. Putting it out there meant accepting people may not agree. Was I willing to be gracious then? So far no comments, but as the saying goes “if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. Until we are willing to accept the fact that things are not what we anticipated and may not return to the way they used to be, we are doomed to repeat the past. Things may never return to “normal,” but we can decide to roll with the punches and make the latter end better than the former. I remember hearing that phrase as a child in Sunday School whenever they would tell the story of Job. Job a wealthy man, reduced to nothing, lost it all even his children, but his latter end was greater than his beginning. I am not saying all you have to do is think positive (boloney). I am saying, are you willing to turn those lemons into lemonade? What if I do not achieve my dreams? At least I will know that I wasn’t afraid to try.
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
– Theodore Roosevelt” The Man in the Arena” speech at the Sorbonne in Paris