“The only thing constant in life is change.”
I am feeling compelled to write this morning about the subject of change (specifically the impetus for, and results of). Why do we strive for ….the big kahuna-waves, the furthest-away stars, improbable life paths?
When we set lofty goals for ourselves, it often means forsaking our comfort zones and stepping away from our safe places. The challenge of creating life transitions can result in great personal success, metamorphosis, innovation.
Recently, Oliver and I read and discussed the Robert Frost poem, “The Road Not Taken.” We asked ourselves, “What if we had chosen different paths?”
“The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Levity and freedom result when taking a new route. We are forever telling others to just “do it”, or to “jump in, the water is warm!” We sound so confident, but the reality can be sobering: change is hard. However, it is good to remember that change is also positive, even if it is a separation from what is comfortable.
Change means different things to different people. But one thing is for sure, being open to new things on any level broadens the mind, heart and soul, and thus propels us forward and for the better.
When we chose change: Sometimes we know we need to grow and yet we are not sure we really want to. It’s easier to stay with what we know. The greatest things we have done have been the result of dramatic, unsettling, upending changes. THIS is why we advise anyone to “leave the dock.” Life experiences are invigorating. With them, we become more confident humans, more aware, more alive than we were.
The un-welcome opposite: On the flip-side, when change happens due to unforseen or unfortunate circumstance, one’s revolution is inevitable. There is a bumper-sticker for this type of change, “SH_ _ happens”. As responsible adults, we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and start doing the dishes. We clean up the mess, learn and move on. We turn what we didn’t see coming, into a reconstructed new thing and if we stay focused, we evolve, change and are better for the wear. In the end, we can be grateful for a gentle push in the right direction.
“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” – C.S. Lewis
I am both humbled and empowered by my life’s experiences. I think if we worry too much what others think of us, we would never leave the house. Yesterday, the kids each wrote essays on humility. They were extraordinary in their candor and I hope they will always have a sense of balance in their lives. Trying new things invites the risk of failure, but success only happens when we try new things.
I treasure this photo of Tony and I in Newport in fall of 2013. On this very day we were cruising Newport Harbor looking at various boats and discussing the possibilities of doing something very different, imagining… “What if we bought a boat and lived on it with the kids?” … What if?
At the time, I had no idea how much having a relationship with the sea would mean to me. I don’t think any of us expected to love living on a boat, or home-schooling as much as we do!
If you could do something different in your life, what would it be?
About François de La Rochefoucauld: The Prince de Marcella (born in the 1600’s) was a noted French author. “It is said that his world-view was clear-eyed and urbane, and that he neither condemned human conduct nor sentimentally celebrated it.” (wikipedia)
The Robert Frost poem is the the public domain, but this and more can be found here: www.poetryfoundation.org
About C.S. Lewis: Clive Staples Lewis was a British novelist, poet, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian, broadcaster, lecturer, and Christian apologist. (wikipedia) The official website is: www.cslewis.com.