With apologies to David Bowie –
I’ve written about changes before, but it’s a topic that I seem to be drawn to again this week. Humans tend to resist change, even when it is for the better.
Yeah, yeah, I know; we’ve heard this song before. But in his next line Bowie says “Turn and face the strange,” and I think that’s that part that’s drawing me in at the moment.
I’ve been at the same job for three years now. Not a long time, I recognize, but a significant amount of time none the less. In that three years, I’ve nearly lost my husband, published four books, sold a fifth book, lost my father and my father in law, helped my oldest daughter reach graduation in high school, and celebrated my mother’s 70th birthday. There have been a lot of changes, a lot of shifts in my reality, and I’m stepping into a new paradigm in the coming months. And it feels strange.
Do you remember when you were in high school and you set the “life establishment” deadline? For me it was “By the time I am 25, I will . . . ” and I had this amazing plan for how my life would be. Come on, admit it, you did the same thing. My big objective was to have moved to New York and become a Broadway actress. Instead, by the time I was 25, I had barely made it out of college, was married, and just before turning 26 I found out I was pregnant with my first kid. NOT what I had in mind at 18.
In reviewing the intervening years I realize that this is what life really amounts to – setting goals, working toward them, having life get in the way, and making adjustments. Sometimes we let go of those early dreams, and sometimes we cling to them like a life raft in the Pacific.
The place I find myself right now has to do with holding on to dreams, and making adjustments in my life to accommodate those dreams. It is strange. And it is new. And it is exciting. Letting go of the familiar for the potential of something feels a lot like going skydiving for the first time: you should be scared because jumping out of a perfectly good aircraft and hurtling toward the ground with nothing but a thin piece of silk to protect you is not a natural act! Just like with skydiving, though, I’m not jumping out unprepared. I’ve thought a lot about the choice I’m making. I have trained for it, and I believe in my ability to achieve what it is I want. And I have a parachute of sorts, so I really believe that for as odd as this feels, it’s what I’m supposed to do.
Change has been happening all around me anyway. The death of someone you know changes how you interact in the world. The growth of your children changes how you relate with those children and how they relate with you. Growing and evolving as an individual means that you change who you are in a relationship. Even my writing has changed over the last few years, and the way I think about writing has changed, too. Now, rather than observing the changes around me and allowing them to happen, I’m actively seeking to alter my situation, choosing to modify a significant portion of my life.
The leap is there before me.
I see it, large and looming, but I’m no longer really afraid. Nervous, sure, but not scared. I’m leaving the security of one job for a less secure focus on writing. I’m rededicating my purpose to what I know I need to be doing, and trusting that the universe knows this is what’s right for me, too. In the coming months, there will be fewer excuses for following my bliss, and despite whatever fears and discomfort accompany this choice, I know it’s the right thing to do.
Turn and face the strange. I want that on a tee-shirt.
Go follow your bliss, and embrace change.