A couple of years ago, my daughter-in-law was part of a demonstration program at a newly formed charter school. Her job was to tailor a class for grades one through six while using the same topic. Her subject was about the inevitability of change. She’s a fabulous and very dedicated teacher and I loved watching her interaction with children of different ages as they discussed change.
For first graders she went through the stages of change from larvae through butterfly. As she progressed through the different classes, the language for each grade also changed starting with how as things grow they change, to the older class about global changes in the environment and the inevitability of change.
Looking back over my 60-plus years, there have certainly been many changes. The biggest revelation is that no matter how much we would like things to be as they are at any given time, attitudes, ambitions, circumstances and relationships will change.
How can we manage the big changes in our lives? We can fight, flee, or embrace them. In the end, change will happen.
Some of the changes we’ve all experienced (if you’re 60 and over) are the many changes in the economy after World War II, the change in travel opportunities, the change from an industrial to an information age, and for me, the change in my own attitude toward religion and spiritual growth.
Coming from a tightly religious culture in a small town in a low-income family, my destiny was to grow up, have children and live happily ever after. Escaping from that role at the age of 18 was one of the best things I ever did. My life took on a whole new adventurous road and yes, I did eventually marry and did live happily for quite some time, but nothing is forever. Even that changed.
I was 21 before I ever took a plane ride. I look at my sons who have traveled all over the world and my grandsons who take plane trips in stride. They can’t believe that I grew up in a house with no television, no computer and no cell phone. Imagine that!
As the years have passed I have come to value family and friends more than I did in my younger days when I was more into acquiring things. Now I like to acquire friends. I see a faster moving world of technology and dip my toe into it hoping it will somehow carry me off into a greater understanding of its power.
By far the biggest change I have seen is in the longevity of our population. Given that my parents lived well into the 90’s, I figure that I have about another third of my life left to go. Standing at the threshold of the next 25-30 years I know that I want this last part of my life to be the best part of my life.
We can look ahead and decide how we want our lives to be for the next third of our lives but we truly don’t have control over the circumstances and events that my be beyond our wildest dreams or may be the worst thing that could happen. The key here is to know that each moment we’re alive is part of the great adventure called life. It’s an adventure that will end.
How about you? What changes would you like to make in your life? Since we know that change is inevitable, pick some of the changes you would like to see in your life and start today. All it takes is that first step to move in the direction you want.
When big change looms and you can’t figure out how to manage it, we often try to climb this huge mountain in a day. I’m reminded of the man who asked a Sage, “How did you climb that mountain. It seems so unreachable”. The Sage answered, “I did it one step at a time.”
What mountain do you want to climb? What step can you take today to achieve that? Let me know if I can help you take that first step.