Recently I was completing a form that asked me (really!) to list every address I’ve had since 1975… surely, they were mistaken, right?
Okay, so maybe you’re the very stable person who has lived in the same home that you were born in and there have been no moves in your life – blessings to you! I am not one of those people. In 1975, I was living in upstate New York, and now I live in south central Pennsylvania, but between those two states I have had approximately 15 different addresses… makes me feel like a bit of a nomad! So, clearly, I was unable to complete the task presented to me, but it certainly gave me opportunity to think… what have I done at the crossroads of my life in my past? What am I doing with the crossroads that I face today? Have I learned any lessons from the journeys of my life? I know that our life changes are not always about moving – there are many other things that happen in our life which necessitate changes, some more serious than others. But let’s talk a bit about moving or relocating… can I share a few lessons that I’ve learned?
Each time you move, you’ll realize what material things are of value, and what things just aren’t important. I’m old enough to remember Hurricane Agnes, which walloped the east coast with torrential rains and flooding. I realized, as the waters receded, that all my boxes of mementoes from my earlier years had been destroyed. But more importantly, what I realized immediately is that it didn’t really matter – what mattered is that we were all safe, our home was still solid. And new memories and mementoes soon began to build around us. Life went on.
Our move to Pennsylvania happened just a few weeks before the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island. Here we were, with absolutely no sense of local direction, wondering what to do – should we evacuate, and if so, where would we go. Well, lesson learned – crisis is a great way to get to know your neighbors and your neighborhood. I quickly found that the stability of native Lancastrians (I live in Lancaster County – ask me if you don’t know anything about our great county) far outweighed the fright and distress of a newcomer!
One of my moves was related to the end of a relationship. And although this was a very sad and difficult time for me, I knew that I had to be the stability for my children. And having to do that helped me to focus, once again, on what’s really important. As I was driven to make this transition journey far easier for my children, I found that my outlook about life in general improved – taking away the sadness and replacing it with excitement about what the future might hold.
Another move that comes to mind was related to welcoming one of my sons and my granddaughter into my home, this due to a change in their life. And the lesson I learned from this experience was that, when family love exists, anything is possible, and in fact not only possible but also makes for wonderful new experiences and memories. Who would have thought that I would get to be a ‘study’ buddy for my amazing granddaughter all through middle and high school – wow, wish I’d paid more attention in my own classes – but I realized that yes, change had happened, but I had been given a valuable gift, far more precious than adjusting my single life contentment to the everyday mayhem of family.
I’m eager to hear from you about how you’ve adjusted to changes in your life… please share! I hope you’ve enjoyed my memory sharing – I’ve actually enjoyed remembering these events (which seemed exceedingly traumatic at the time!) as I’ve written them down. I’m ending with some quotes by people far more famous than I am about change… enjoy!
From Maya Angelou… “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”
From George Bernard Shaw… “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”
From German economist Klaus Schwab… “Change can be frightening, and the temptation is often to resist it. But change almost always provides opportunities – to learn new things, rethink tired processes, and to improve the way we work.”
From American abolitionist Harriet Tubman… “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”
From physicist Stephen Hawking… “Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.”
From author William Arthur Ward… “The pessimist complains about the wind, the optimist expects it to change, the realist adjusts the sails.”
And known as the serenity prayer, authored by theologian Reinhold Neibuhr… “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.