Learning to Adapt to Change

289_68543890528_5121_n (1)In 1997 my family moved from a gorgeous, lakeside city to a sleepy town in western Pennsylvania. All I had ever known was Holland, Michigan: 24th Street, Tulip Time, Lake Michigan, my best friend next door, my cousins and grandparents less than an hour away.

I was a miserable 7 year old for the first year or so after we moved to Pennsylvania. I hated everything about that town, the people, and all the changes that had taken place.

My mother will tell you how much I hate change and try to avoid it. Even things like changing paint colors, cutting my hair make me hesitate and consider, what if it isn’t as good as the old? Imagine what it was like when my parents enrolled me in private school in 5th grade, or when my best friend started dating someone and had less time to spend with me.

I’ve always known that adapting to change is a struggle for me, and it’s something I’ve been working on. When I came back from studying abroad, I thought I had conquered that fear. I just spent a whole semester living with nothing but change and needing to be flexible. Granted, I grew a heck of a lot that semester, but I was naive to think that I’d overcome that fear so quickly.

2013 was full of the hardest changes so far: graduation, moving, forming new relationships and losing old ones, and so much more. I look back at the last six months and I can’t believe that I’m not in therapy. I honestly can’t tell you how I managed to adapt to so much change in such a short period of time. Grace?

I feel sort of triumphant, like I can make it through anything now that I’ve done that. I’m basically Wonder Woman at this point.

That is, until Gray talks about grad school and his future plans, or my boss talks about hiring more people, or my roommates and friends talk about getting married. Wait!!! Why can’t things stay how they are?? There’s that same knot in my stomach, the same spinning thoughts in my head: how will things be different? Can I adapt? How does this affect me? How do I have to change? 

I realize that I haven’t overcome my aversion to change, and the truth is that I probably never will. I’ll just learn to get better at managing my fears, learn to trust God, and enjoy change for what it is. That’s why one of my 2014 resolutions is to “be more open-minded to the idea of change.” I’m sure 2014 will have lots of opportunities for me to practice.

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