I’m a creature of habit. And can turn into Godzilla when change is forced on me.
I like driving the same routes, watching the same shows, and eating the same snacks. Not just the same shows each week. The same shows I watched YEARS ago. (My husband just asked me the other day how many seasons Remington Steele has. Think he’s tired of seeing me watch it?)
My habits extend to public places, too When possible, I park in the same section when I go to the mall, and sit in the same spot at the same Starbucks on Monday nights. Methodical or diabolical, who knows? All I know is, I like things the same. What did this look like during separation and divorce? It looked and sounded mean and miserable on the days I couldn’t fake the funk. When I could manage my feelings, it looked strong and well-adjusted, but only on the outside.
So, what do you do when you can’t control your surroundings? Or, are you one of those mentally and emotionally stable folks who rolls with the punches, and isn’t thrown into a tailspin when things don’t go as planned? (I’m totally rolling my eyes.)
As I mature, the phrase, “it’s not that deep,” has more meaning. When I hit speed bumps, or people or backdrops in my life are interchanged, it’s less traumatic. While I don’t always immediately enjoy the changes, I’ve become more accepting. Often I have to admit that my tantrums have more to do with my desire to control than the actual changes. (I’m soooo human.)
I don’t remember exactly when I picked up the craving for control. When I was school aged, change was no big deal. New supplies, new books, new classes, teachers, subject matter. I welcomed changing tides and information, as well as embraced new friends. Then somehow, I let fear take over.
What if they don’t like me?
They said “Hi” instead of “Hello,” they must be mad at me.
They’re prettier than I am.
They like her better. I have to make them like me, too.
Fear invaded my foundation; comparison and control became my language. A new mindset took over. I needed to be able to predict what was coming up next, so I could prepare. Striving became my norm. Lying to myself, telling others what they want to hear, and blind to the monster growing inside me.
I hit a point in my mid-thirties where it all came crashing down. A grueling marital separation scraped away any semblance of confidence. Depression was a familiar companion and derailed many plans. That is, until I engaged with the help God sent.
Be thankful for folks who don’t just see your tears, but decide to join you on the crusade toward better days. My team was onboard, determined to see me win. I didn’t always agree and didn’t always make it easy on them, but they reminded me the world doesn’t revolve around me. I learned to see myself differently, to make better decisions, and discern where I needed to accept responsibility.
And in time, I returned to the belief that change can be a great, and necessary, thing.
How well do you embrace change? Share your stories or suggestions in the comments!