The earth is filled with reminders and comforts that whisper, “Whatever you’re going through, it’s okay. It’s a part of life. Trust that where you are right now is a beautiful part of the process.” I used to dread change. (No exaggeration, I went away to college kicking and crying because I hated transition so much.) But with every changing season I’ve walked through, I’ve made huge strides in handling it with confidence and joy. Through practice, I’ve learned 3 ways to conquer change, rather than just letting it happen to me.
In every stage of life, there has been a reverence deep in my heart for seasons that have passed and the new season ahead. I do my best to honor each season. With gratitude, I reflect on what I learned, how I grew, and what I endured. The lessons are then sealed in me so I can move onto what’s next. It’s way of celebrating what grew and mourning what is no more. At the brim of a new season, there is expectancy, maybe fear, and a sea of unknown that is filled with possibility. But the chaos doesn’t have to dictate you. Because of my reflection throughout changing seasons, this is how I have learned to conquer change:
1. Making intentional decisions with what you can control makes it a lot easier when life throws you something out of your control.
While it feels like the ground has been taken from under me, I make lists. Sometimes those lists are next steps to how to heal or navigate disappointment. Other times, when I’m hating where life has taken me, I make a to-do list of Things I’ve Always Wanted to Do. These lists have included things like traveling to a specific place, reading The Beautiful and the Damned, visiting friends, and watching all the James Bond movies. The more specific and tangible the list is, the more effective it will be.
And like any effective plan, it needs a timeline. I plan 3 months (the time frame of each earthly season) for me to accomplish what’s on my list of Things I’ve Always Wanted to Do. Making that intentional decision of how I will spend my time, money, and awe allowed me to feel a sense of control. Recognizing what parts of my life are still dictated by myself (what I eat, what I wear, what I schedule) has brought me peace when everything around me feels chaotic.
2. Your experiences are yours to label and no one else’s.
Sometimes change is thrusted upon us and leaves us feeling blind sided or confused. It’s normal to want to try to figure out the why, but nothing you go through needs to be justified or summarized or explained to anyone. Social media makes it easier than ever for people to have an opinion about your life. That being said, don’t ever feel like you owe social media anything. There are hundreds of people who have not earned the right to your feelings. Don’t write them the blank check of having a voice over your life. Your life’s change and how you decide to handle it is only fully known by you. It is your experience. Trust it. Own it. Claim it. And don’t let anyone else label it without your permission.
3. Ask yourself, “who do I want to be regardless of circumstance?”
I always ask myself this question when change is spinning me in circles.
Confident. Encouraging. Empathetic. Hard-working.
The great thing is, because my answer to this question is a list of characteristics, I can start working on those things any time. I can start now! I don’t need the world around me to be peaceful to cultivate peace within myself. Character is separate from circumstance.
I don’t grow in a straight line, linear progression – no human does. So, I’ll fail sometimes at developing the traits I want during hard days. But calm storms don’t create skilled sailors. And I would rather be refined by failing than be naive because I missed out on the experience of trying to grow.
Regardless of how you got your new season, peace can survive in chaos, resilience is strengthened in the fear, and possibility is woven within the mysterious unknown.
PS – I loved taking photos of my friends in the snow at the National Mall around the corner from my house! Aren’t they STUNNING? All photos of me were taken by my friend Chazlyn. Thank you to Chaz, Sarah, Hannah, and Nana for saying yes to my text on a snowy morning for a friends photoshoot!