Day One of Momalom’s Five for Five
For most of my life I have been thrown around by change.
My mom likes to tell the story about how I handled a family move when I was two years old. I stared at the packing boxes for the entire night before we moved. She identified early that I was not comfortable with change.
She was right. I never really liked change, but I grew to know it well, and I became rather good at dealing with it.
I learned to navigate a world where dads change from sober to drunk. I adjusted to life with a single mom. I watched my body change (thankfully short-term) from athletic to practically immobile. I eventually accepted the change from high school to college, despite the uncomfortable challenge it was for me. I rode the wave of change into my marriage and into early motherhood. I changed houses six times. And then the roll-over car accident… changed everything.
Change was what happened TO me. I had found a way to float through life, to take stock of the tumult happening around me, and then pride myself on my abilities to adjust. Riding the wave of change is what I learned to do.
I also learned that it is easier to get stuck that way, than it is to take charge of change for yourself.
If what you know is to bat things out of the air, to defend yourself against assault, or to run quickly in a new direction… it is more comfortable to keep doing exactly what you’ve always done.
The most important thing that I have learned though is that the tools to navigate change will only take you so far.
Life is better lived if YOU are the change-maker.
When I felt as though I were out of options to navigate change…I decided to change my life myself.
With three kids and a husband who travels far away from us for weeks at a time, the change seemed impossible…outlandish even. So I started with the only changes I could make.
I changed my internal script. I started to regularly ask myself, what positive thought could I orchestrate when negativity and frustration were the only things I really wanted to think? It didn’t happen overnight, and it is still not perfectly achieved, but I feel like it’s getting easier. (I thank Dr. Martin Seligman and his book Authentic Happiness)
Change still happens in our house. My husband is literally on the road today…changing from telecommuter to out-of-state worker.
Our 12-year-old son is quickly changing into a hormonal pre-teen and our girls are changing at both the molecular and the visible level too.
I cannot control that change is part of life, but I have come to believe that I have control to change my attitude, my approach, my perspective, and NO ONE else can do that but me.
I lean heavily (and regularly) on a prayer that has helped me for my entire life, and I offer it up to you here:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.
The courage to change the things I can.
And the wisdom to know the difference.
Here’s to being change-makers!!
To learn more about Meagan or her current choosing to grow project, you can visit her website: www.meaganfrank.com.
Copyright 2012 Meagan Frank Choosing to Grow
13 thoughts on “Taking Control of Change”
We have to give in sometimes. But then we have to take control, too. For me, figuring out which road to take is so diffcult sometimes that I do find I’m stuck. But change is everywhere, no matter how you define it. And I love how much you shared here about your experiences and your methods for moving forward. Thanks for a great post and for joining Five for Five!
Thanks Jen! For the comment, for offering Five for Five and for generally being totally awesome! MMF
Painful as change can be, you have certainly “Chosen to Grow” in all the best ways. Kudos
Thanks mom…you helped to give me the tools to battle with never-ending change. Good thing! MMF
I definitely prefer being the change maker. I find that I spend a lot of time strategizing how to be the one making change rather than the one it happens to. Not sure what that says about me…
Planning to be the change maker takes just as much energy as riding the wave of changes that are out of our control. We need to know how to balance between the two and provide enough energy for both.
Being a change maker gives us a stake in the outcome. So much better that way.
And the serenity prayer is something I lean into during tough times.
It’s nice to know I’m not the only one.
I was just looking back over my life to see how I got so far off track…each time a major change happened to me, I was knocked for a loop for two years. Every time. And then I got back up, dusted myself off, and chose a new path.
Now that I know the pattern, I will make my path, and when change kicks me in the teeth, I will get right back up. Because two years is a lot to waste on not making my own changes.
Thanks for the post!
Christine, thanks for sharing your perspective. I talk a big game…it is much easier said than done, but there are times I can talk myself in to taking charge of the changes in my life. MMF
Good point! I agree that we really only have control over changing ourselves. Thanks for reminding me of that!
Thanks for stopping by…I have some return visits to pay. MMF