Last week, I saw my youngest son graduate college with all the pomp and circumstance of a changing of the guard, a recognition of transition, whether out into the real world or on to more targeted education. I’m as proud of him as I could be with how he handled his education and took ownership for it, but there’s also a measure of sadness. He’s been living at home while attending the local university, so now he’ll soon be off on his own adventures, leaving my husband and me as observers from the sidelines. It’s only natural in modern American culture, but that doesn’t change the impact. Heck, there’s even a syndrome named for this moment.
Here’s the thing though…life is all about change. If there’s no change, there is only stagnation.
A stagnant river becomes a breeding ground for pests like mosquitos who carry all sorts of diseases, and a stagnant life becomes a breeding ground for depression among other things.
Humans are creatures of habit. It’s easy to slip into a state where everything is done the same way, especially when you don’t have children wreaking havoc on your plans. My cats know the pattern and will remind me if I break it. My kids? Nah. They wanted to rewrite the pattern when it inconvenienced them.
Change is hard. Disruptions are hard and demanding. Instinct sends us scurrying in the other direction. Fear of the unknown doesn’t help much either.
The change of my son setting off onto his next adventure isn’t within my control. I couldn’t choose to ignore or prevent it, but honestly, I don’t want to even if I could.
Will I miss my son? Absolutely. I miss my first son all the time. But do I want to put their lives on hold to maintain the life I built around them? Not at all.
Here’s the thing…they’re going off and starting their own adventures, but so am I.
You are never too old, too injured, too tired to start something new. No matter how small, embrace the change. Welcome it into your life and learn from whatever it is. Sure, change often comes to us with the tinge of sadness, but we don’t have to let that sadness swallow us whole. Experience and recognize your sorrow. Let it heal and strengthen you. But when the time comes to move on, open your eyes and see the wonders that await just around the corner.
Change may be scary. It may appear overwhelming, especially at first, but it’s also amazing. You don’t know what’s behind that door or beyond that turn. Who knows what you’ll discover if you take that overgrown path? You can return to something lost, set aside because of bigger needs, or embark on something brand new.
It may succeed. It may fail. The results don’t matter. What matters is not being that stagnant stream, festering. Let the current take you to your own next adventure, whatever that may be.
So, are you with me? What change are you ready to step into? Claim your own corner of shock and awe.