Change. Some love it. Some hate. Some thrive on it. Some avoid it entirely. Run away from it as much as you try, but change is inevitable. The fall weather is beginning to settle in Chicago, and although I’m not thrilled to see the sun and warm weather go away, change will happen. Nothing stays the same, which is one of the reasons I love fall. I’m excited to figure out layering (especially since I’m not tied to wearing only black) and I can’t wait to see what color and pattern combos are in store, but there’s more to fashion that excites me about fall. This season is one of my favorites because it’s not overwhelmingly hot or cold weather, and it’s a time about transitioning. I always found fall to be a pivotal time in my life, whether it’s a change of location, the beginning of new classes or activities, or the start of a new career. What makes this fall in particular so important? That I’m experiencing change in all of these areas. You might think this is exciting and applaud me for being courageous, but is changing a career, living in a new city, and on new adventures all it’s cracked up to be? Changing my life and city may sound glamorous, but here are a few things I’ve learned from the harsh realities of change:
Moving to a new city doesn’t mean you leave all the problems you had at your old residency. Running away is usually just an excuse, it’s not an escape route from everything where you previously lived. All issues from past relationships and work experiences will follow you. Being somewhere new doesn’t guarantee your insecurities or unhappiness will go away, the only thing that can do is develop a new mindset. Starting over in a new place can help change your options, but new developments won’t happen unless you change how you think and feel.
Living somewhere new, there are plenty of times you’ll think of where you used to be. I sometimes wonder what my friends are doing back in Denver and what show they’re working on backstage. I wonder what it will be like now that I’m no longer putting blush and lipstick on the kids in “A Christmas Carol” cast. Sending postcards and cards to friends and family in Utah, California, Oregon and beyond, I think back to my time in these places and wonder what my friends are up to now. If I had stayed in those places would I be hanging out with them and sharing fun and enjoyment? Maybe, but uncertainty is something I’m used to thriving on. Never knowing what’s next and when I could get to see my friends again and make new ones always keeps me going.
Adjusting to new people both in your personal and professional life is never easy. New roommates, co-workers, acquaintances, and more will come into your life. Will you get along? Will you make new friends? What will you do if things don’t work out? Having lived with more roommates than my age (I’m 31), has definitely taught me a few lessons on how nerve-wracking it can be getting to know new people and determining if you are going to be friends, casual acquaintances, or civil but awkward relationship. People can be complex and at times frustrating when you are judged or misunderstood. Sometimes you want to throw in the towel and think, “Fuck it, I’ll keep doing what I’m doing rather than take the risk.” But, would you be unhappy if you didn’t take the risk? Would you be asking yourself, “What if” years later? Then don’t sit around and go make things happen.
Changing jobs doesn’t mean instant money and success. As I’m finding with any career, you have to take classes, perhaps change your entire degree. Then, you have to take on an internship (usually more, sometimes several) before you see change happen. This can be expensive and require you to plan ahead financially and save money to turn things around. And, what’s more important is finding something that is meaningful to you. Money is great, but if you are miserable you won’t ever be fulfilled.
Change doesn’t mean you aren’t afraid or questioning your decisions constantly. There have been numerous times I’ve thought, “What in the hell was I thinking? Am I making a huge mistake? What if things don’t work out?” Having not had a paycheck in months and wondering when I’ll see one next has put me in situations where I begin to wonder if I made the right decision. What has kept me going? Having a sense of faith and knowing I’m in the right direction. It may not be easy, but I can’t ignore the sense that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.
Sometimes you wish you could just run home and forget about it all. Yes, sometimes nothing would be better than to run home and eat my mom’s Spaghetti Pie or Zucchini Casserole and cuddle up in the blanket my grandma made me. Avoiding all adult responsibilities and decisions would be awesome sometimes. However, would that get me any closer to making the changes I needed to? No, but that doesn’t mean I don’t occasionally think about it (and I’m sure my parents don’t mind I admit this).
I’m not quite sure exactly where my changes will lead me, but I know they’re inevitable and necessary to get somewhere different. I know I miss certain parts of my past, but knew I couldn’t stay where I was at. Although I struggle with change, I thrive on it just as much. I can’t seem to stay put or make a decision on where I want to land permanently and all I want to do is continue to explore numerous job opportunities and locations that speak to me. Even though it would be nice to have a place to call home, I can’t deny that I’d be off visiting my next destination and career opportunity in a heartbeat. As much as I occasionally want to avoid change, it is inevitable that it will happen and all I can do is keep going with a strong mind forward.
Do you like or hate change? What have you learned about change and what advice do you have for people undergoing change now?