Photo by LC Photography, St. Teresas, NL.
No one I know likes change. As human beings we are habitual creatures, doing the same things every day, without thinking. For most people, it works. You may get up in the morning, shower, eat, and go off to work. Routine. You see the same people at work and eat the same food for lunch. You go home, eat dinner with/without family, watch TV, and go to bed. Weekends may be filled with friends or family outings, and running errands. You go on vacation once a year. You serve your community by volunteering at community events, or helping out at the nearest soup kitchen. And you may be happy living your life out in this fashion.
But what happens if and when you reach that point when you begin to think, "Same shit over and over and over again." It first starts as a random thought, then begins to take over rational thought until eventually it begins to be the only think you think about. What do you do? Grin and bear it, hope that it is just a fleeting thing that will eventually go away. Do you keep doing the same thing over expecting different results? Do you dive into your job, do you exercise at the gym until your muscles ache and finally feel like rubber? Do you try to run that 10k marathon, trying desperately to outrun that feeling? What do you do?
The following is what I have learned about making change.
- The first thing you must do is figure out just how you feel and what you need to change. Are you bored, unhappy, or dissatisfied? Figure out what you are unhappy about or what you are dissatisfied with. It may be something small like losing weight and getting healthy or it may be something bigger like changing your career, or even bigger, leaving an impossible situation with a partner. Whatever the problem, you have to identify what you are feeling and decide just what it is that you need to change. Take your time, do not do anything drastic, and do not make hasty decisions.
Let me tell you about the time I didn't identify my feelings, did something drastic, and made a hasty decision. It was years ago, I was living in a house that I had been renting. I had been in a car accident and was housebound. I had too many confusing feelings and emotions and I wasn't thinking straight. A lot of things were going on in my life that I had no control over and I didn't know how to cope. So one day while I was at the pet store buying some dog food I saw an ad for Newfoundland puppies. One look at that picture and I was immediately compelled to get one. My son, who was with me, agreed. We went home and convinced my partner to give us 400 dollars so we could go get one, which we did the following day. That puppy was the sweetest thing. He was big and dopey, furry and so playful, until he grew to the size of a horse in about four months. What was I thinking? I wasn't. I was just trying to fill a void. Needless to say, shortly after I found a good home for him. Lesson learned.
- Now that you have figured out what you are feeling and have decided what you need to change, you have to consider the roadblocks, the things that are holding you back. Making a change is hard, but it may be easier to tackle once you have an understanding of what's holding you back.
Let me tell you how it took me ten years to make a major life decision because I couldn't let go of what was holding me back. I got married at a young age and was very unhappy in the marriage due to things that I cannot bare to mention, but I had my own home, with a backyard on a nice quiet street. The thought of losing material possessions kept me in a situation that was killing me. The relationship took its toll, but I held on because I didn't want to lose my house, my things, my status. Once I understood that these things were holding me back, I let go. The weight lifted and I realized that material possessions do not make you happy, they are just things. I left everything behind and got a divorce and it was the best decision I ever made in my life.
- Once you understand what's holding you back make a plan. How do you get from point A, being miserable, to point B, being at peace and harmony with yourself, those around you, and the world? Get a pen and some paper, start a journal or keep some kind of logbook. Make a plan, write it down, then follow it. Work at it, don't give up on it. Keep the focus. Pretend you have tunnel vision and keep the eyes focused forward, always. There will be obstructions, this is life we are talking about, no one said it was easy. When obstructions take you aback, figure out how to solve it, don't talk about the problem, talk about the solution. Fix the problem then get on with your plan. Making change can be scary, but what's the alternative? It doesn't take long for unhappiness to develop into depression. Sometimes it feels like you don't have a choice, but you always have a choice.
I know that the above may sound like some psychobabble nonsense, but it really does help to keep a log book because it helps you stick with a plan and keeps things in perspective. It also helps you see mistakes you might have made along the way. In an earlier post entitled I AM GEMINI, I found my life purpose in old journals and logbooks I had kept. Keeping a journal helps you to see where you have been, and may help you decide where you want to go in your life, and what changes have to be made.
- Now that you know what you are feeling and why and understand what is holding you back, you may still feel like you are in a situation where a life change just cannot happen right now. If you feel as if you are in this kind of situation then I would suggest that you find happiness despite your situation. Fight to be happy. Fight against everything that tries to steal your joy. Fight against everyone who tries to bring you down. Do what makes you happy. Don't let your situation control you. Don't let anyone control how you feel. You are a good person. Keep writing in your journal. Take care of yourself and try to think positive things and concentrate on the good things in your life. Be thankful. Form positive habits that will help you and make you happy. Happiness is contagious. And when you do have a bad day acknowledge it, feel it, but don't spend time wallowing in it. For life is short, time is fleeting, and if you don't take responsibility for your happiness, who will?