Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Joys and Pains of Dealing with Change

Change...it can be amazing, it can be harsh, it can be beautiful, and it can be ugly....

A Graduation, a Wedding, getting a job, moving somewhere new, going through a bad break up, receiving terrible medical news, finding out you're going to be a mother or father...


Want to know the crazy part? Everything I listed just now has happened to someone I know in just this week alone...crazy right?


Change is something that affects everyone everyday whether we like it or not and how you handle it is what sets you apart from those that succeed.


“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”
- Lao Tzu


I'll be honest with you change is not easy and sometimes it can be absolutely miserable... 


To give you a quick background story, I moved around a good bit when I was kid, I lived in 4 different states and had ZERO friends in each one for the first couple of months. 


For me change was something that was somewhat forced and something I had to adapt to unless I wanted to be miserable the rest of my life. It wasn't easy and in fact, my dad and I had arguments over how much we moved for YEARS I was so angry with him.  

I couldn't see if back then but all those times I had to adjust and adapt taught me how to  be patient and understanding of others. It helped me to learn about a wide variety of different cultures, particularly from the Middle East and East Asia since that's where all of our neighbors were from when I was growing up. It's that awareness and cultural competence that helped me connect and make all the friends I have today. 


Did I see it back then? Definitely not. However, through patience and an open mind I slowly began to learn more. 


However, I can't complain, I have a lot of friends who are international students...


Now that is something that still blows my mind about them every time I see them. Because the way I see it, at some point every one of them had to learn to adjust to a new language, a new group of people, a new culture, almost a new way of life essentially and then continue to be successful in school while doing so. 


I completely admire them for that. Putting myself in their shoes I don't know if I could ever have been able to pull something like that off growing up, they're all absolutely amazing and I hope that if they're reading this that they know that. 

They helped me gain a sense of relief when I moved for the last time to college...I wasn't alone anymore...I had people who in an odd way had similar and more difficult experiences then I did and we each had different cultural backgrounds that we brought together through good times and laughter. It's the most comforting feeling for anyone entering a new stage of their life.  


"We all have big changes in our lives that are more or less a second chance."

 - Harrison Ford 

I had discussions with several friends of mine this week who all had multiple offers from different companies for full-time employment. 

Now, at first, I'm like everyone else: "That's awesome! Congratulations" etc. 


However, what people don't hear too often is everything that comes with that job. For instance, in the case of my friends, it requires them to move to a new city, or to travel a LOT, which for some is perfectly fine, others...not so much. 


Unlike an internship which will only affect you for a few months, full-time employment is a decision that can be a permanent or at the bare minimum a long-term change that needs to have a lot of thought put into before a decision is made. It's terrifying and also really exciting at the same time...


Since I'm graduating in May I'm currently finding myself in that position as well. The one thing I would say is to do whatever you feel would make you happy. Even if the offers are seem equal, look at the small details, Google the city you're moving to and see what's there, see if the organizations you love have involvement in that city, the people, the culture, etc. If I had to move again, so be it, however, this time, I have a choice and I want to make sure that I am happy with it.  


“When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”
- Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist


Marriage, Love, and Relationships....


I once heard love is like giving someone the power to destroy you...but trusting them not to...

Going on facebook and seeing that people from when I was in high school getting married, becoming a parent, or hearing about heart break makes me realize how quickly life can change, and how I need to get accustomed to the idea that nothing lasts forever.

While reading a particular article this week on marriage I read this:

"You don't marry to make yourself happy, you marry to make someone else happy. More than that, your marriage isn't for yourself, you're marrying for a family. Not just for the in-laws and all of that nonsense, but for your future children. Who do you want to help you raise them? Who do you want to influence them? Marriage isn't for you. It's not about you. Marriage is about the person you married." 

 - Seth Adam Smith, Marriage Isn't For You

For those who are in relationships who are not thinking about marriage, here's my take on everything.

While I've been in a relationship for awhile, I'm no expert, I'm still learning about what it means to love, to be loved, and about sacrifice.

I will say this however, you change after being in a relationship for awhile, for better or for worse it happens. For those who have been through a serious relationship or two will understand this.

Being in a relationship will help you see your flaws and may make you want to change yourself, or it can create insecurities that you carry with you into every relationship you go into. It can help you realize what it is your truly want or can pose questions in your mind about what it is you're looking for. Either way, its an experience that changes you.

“When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny.” 
― Paulo CoelhoThe Devil and Miss Prym


We all have our own stories, our own sets of challenges ahead of us, challenges that may be life changing and can help us grow, I'm here to say you're not alone. 


I spent a good bit of my life thinking like that and try to take on everything alone and carry the world on my back. You get nowhere and fast. I dream of changing the world and leaving a positive legacy, but I can't do it alone, and I can't do it without first taking a good look at myself and asking if my lifestyle and character is something that people will admire and follow or turn away from. 


It's during times of change that we rely on everyone that counts in our lives, our families, our loved ones, the people who have mentored and coached you through several hurdles in your life so far. I know that despite my resentment towards him when I was younger, if it wasn't for my father I wouldn't have been able to adapt to change the way I can now. 


Before dealing with big changes, take time, self-reflect, and most importantly talk to people you trust and love, it's a lot easier to handle changes when you're with people you love who support you. 


“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” ― Mahatma Gandhi 


For those starting a new chapter in your life, it doesn't mean that you have to leave everyone behind, we have enough technology and resources today to make it easy to stay in touch. I'm fortunate enough to say that I still have a few childhood friends and its the greatest thing in the world, without them handing the changes that occurred in my life would have been a different story.  


I truly do believe that any change or challenge can be conquered even if it's only with a small committed group of people. 

Take the changes and challenges in your life as an opportunity to grow and learn. Talk about your experiences and give back to those who could use the guidance, the positive changes you will see will make it worth while.