Coming to terms with Change.

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I’ve always hated change. When I was a kid I got really upset when my mom rearranged the furniture in the den to create a different layout. I’ve always like consistency, maybe it’s because I am bipolar and I cling to stable and steady things to keep me grounded. But I don’t want to use that as an excuse, mainly because I refuse to let my emotional disorder control me, but also because it’s a lame reason.

Things change, you just have to accept it.

And I have- to a certain degree. I’ve at the very least accepted progress. I’ve accepted that my life will advance. Good change is welcome, sometimes it still gives me a pit in my stomach because it is unknown, but I don’t let it slow me down any.

It’s the bad and neutral change that gets me, the change that sneaks up when your not paying attention and you have to face the fact that you’ve just been hit over the head with something that will alter everything.

Yikes, even writing that made me whence.

It’s hard to accept that change, especially if you’re not one of those people who simply go with the flow. Maybe your more like me and the flow takes you kicking and screaming. I’m not judging you, I don’t think anyone likes getting knocked off their feet. It should trigger your fight or flight instincts.

So, how do you get accustomed to it? How do you become civil with change?

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Losing two years to Lyme Disease: What it taught me.

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I lost two years to Lyme Disease, there is no way to sugarcoat that. Two years of my early twenties got flushed down the tubes, they were spent in unbearable amounts of pain on the sofa. I couldn’t drive, couldn’t work, couldn’t see my friends, I used all my energy to bathe myself. It was difficult. It was terrible, but two years simply vanished in front of me.

It’s a harsh reality, but as we start this new decade I find myself not mourning those two years. It’s not because in retrospect they weren’t that bad (because they really truly where) it’s just that those two years played a special role in my life.

They taught me perspective and gave me sympathy for the sick and disabled in ways I’ve never experienced before, but they also reshaped me. You see, when you’re that sick and that unable you spend a lot of time thinking, you spend a lot of time evaluating, and dang, if I didn’t spend a lot of time praying.

Our early adulthood years are formative, college had taken my brain and worked on it and worked on it. My years on campus and in class had reshaped my brain, and some of that molding was amazing, but some of it needed to be left pliable for the realities of the real world coming after.

I feel like in a way I had a couple of buffer years. A couple of years where I was stuck in limbo and had time to purposely mold myself instead of just letting life beat me into shape. I don’t know if I would have taken all the time to think and process if I hadn’t been forced to. I think I would have kept on keeping myself too busy to be that deep in thought, too busy to truly reflect on my life. And it’s in that way that God used my sickness for good. He gave me the time I needed to take in everything and realize what I needed to work on and what I needed to change.

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The little things that get you through depression:

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Every now and then you’ll see a post on social media that says “the only reason I haven’t committed suicide is because my dog would miss me” or “the only reason I haven’t spiraled into deep depression is because I’m looking forward to this trip.”

These statements are dark, but a lot of statements having to do with mental health are dark, it’s unfortunately part of it’s nature. But these statements are important, because they give reasons to live, reasons to be happy, reasons to look forward to life.

A lot of people struggle to pull themselves out of depression and while you’re in it it’s easy to believe that you need something huge to make a difference in your daily mental health, but that isn’t true. The little things might not send shock waves through your entire life, but they give you reasons to move forward, and I’m begging you to cling to the little things.

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The decade of change and what’s still the same:

 

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Photo by Sarah Warden Photography

I’ve written and rewritten this blog post a few times. How do you summarize a decade? Especially one that started when you were fifteen and ended when you were twenty five. Those years are massively transformative. It seems like everything possible has been fit into the last ten years, from learning to drive to buying a house and getting married.┬áThe past decade has taken me from a child to a woman. It’s seen hard times and joyous times. It’s been remarkable in every sense of the word.

Maybe it’s strange for us as humans to take time and break it down into chunks like we do. It seems so logical to celebrate the new year, to be able to hit refresh, and to re-calibrate. But too look back over longer periods of time and try to make them a season of our lives just doesn’t work as well. So much happens in ten years time. So much changes. We are in every sense of the word, different.

So I’m going to do something a little different. I’m gong to focus on the parts of me that have stayed the same, because I feel like that says more about me than anything else. The people around me have changed. My place in the world has changed. My daily activites have changed. But there are also quite a few things that have stayed the same.

  • I still want to have a family. When I was 15 I wanted to grow up and get married and have kids, now that I’m older and married I still want to have kids and I was right when I thought that marriage would be one of the most influential things in my life. To marry is to gain a life partner and I’ve managed to find that in the last ten years, and though it didn’t happen at all like I planned, I started down the road that I only dreamed of at 15.
  • I still have a lot of the same morals, though God and society has slowly been fine tuning them. I’ve grown a lot and I’ve become better in a lot of ways, but my want to be better has not ceased. I have not drifted from my moral compass even as it has matured and changed. This is actually something I’m pretty proud of, because though I’ve made mistakes like every other person I’ve stayed true to myself through most of it. I haven’t faltered in major life altering way.
  • My hobbies have endured. I have gained some new ones over the last ten years, but I have also more thoroughly explored the ones I’ve had since I was young. This is amazing because not only does it mean that I’ve been able to approve, but those hobbies I started with when I was fifteen have led me into learning programs that help me in my job. They have helped me through some hard times when I had little else to do and lean on. And, as someone who has creative hobbies, they have helped me express myself and process my emotions. And there have been a lot of emotions to work through in the last ten years.

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Creating goals for 2020 and reflecting on those from 2019:

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First, let’s look back at my goals for 2019. I got about half of them, and the ones not finished were about half done. I don’t know whether to consider that a success or not, but progress is progress and I had a really busy year, so it’s remarkable I got any of it done. Let’s break them down:

  • Plan a wonderful wedding fit for my upcoming marriage: I did it! And it was fabulous. It was honestly the best night of my life. You can see some pictures from it here.
  • More time of hobbies, less time online: Eh. Okay, so I spent less time online but it was because I was spending more time hanging out with friends (yay) and doing daily tasks that increased when I moved out and got married. I did spend time on hobbies, but I don’t know if I did more than in 2018, so I will call this one a half win.
  • Start barrel racing again: Things got really busy in the spring season, so I didn’t start going to races again, but I took all the necessary steps to start next season. I’ve been taking lessons and we’ve finally purchased a horse trailer.
  • Read more than 20 books: Check. I’ve read over forty books year, so I’d say I went above an beyond on this one. Audio books have drastically altered my reading progress, though I still love those paper books!
  • Buy a house: We did it! It’s beautiful and it feels like home. I’m so proud of it. We’ve gotten it all decorated and I’m so excited to come home to it at the end of the day!
  • Send birthday cards to everyone: I started out the year strong and I got birthday cards to people I saw in person. As for the rest… well I got all my wedding thank you notes out? That counts for something, right?
  • Pray more: I’m doing much better at this then I was at the start of the year, though I still have room for improvement.
  • Finish a novel: I didn’t, but I have been making progress on one after months of not writing at all. It feels good to break my writers block.

Now as for the coming year?

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The gift of “good enough”

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I’ve been writing a lot of posts about self improvement. It’s been on my mind, and I honestly think it is something we should all be striving for. It’s important to constantly be shaping yourself into something better, because like it or not, you’re going to change either way, you might as well be going in the right direction.

But with all the talk of self improvement I think I need to counter it, because perfectionism is the enemy of good. If you’re aiming for perfect most the time you will fail, you should be aiming for better instead, or depending on where you started, a lot better. You can’t be great at everything, sometimes you simply have to be okay with being good at something.

So let’s talk about settling. We’ve been taught that settling is bad, and in some situations it really is. You shouldn’t settle on a spouse. You shouldn’t settle when you know your work warrants more. But there is a different kind of settling that no one talks about, a healthy kind that keeps you sane.

I’m talking about knowing when things are good enough and taking them.

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