Change is a funny thing. It’s hard to get used to, even when it’s beneficial. Maybe the problem is that you never know if the change you’re facing is going to be 100% beneficial while you’re going through it.
But change is a catalyst that keeps us alive, helps us find purpose and meaning, makes us new.
It still sometimes sucks.
During all of our chaotic travels this past year, change became an inevitable part of everyday life. Plans were always being made and then revised, expectations were constantly shifting, surprises lurked around every corner. So, when Nick said he wanted to travel to California for yoga training, it felt like a natural transition for him (and for us).
Together, we made room, made a plan, and made it work. Nick’s slow transformation from open-hearted wanderer to focused yogi was pretty amazing to behold. Over a 3-month period, he gained knowledge, physical and mental strength, and a new resolve and purpose that had previously been missing from his life. All of that felt tremendously wonderful.
What didn’t feel wonderful were the sweeping changes that resulted from his exploits.
Nick returned from his training a different person. Fairly quickly, I began to notice changes in his personality, habits, priorities, and responses to life’s everyday ups and downs. Most of these changes were great, honestly. He was, overall, more calm, well-spoken and self-assured.
But still, he had changed.
And change is hard to get used to.
This morning, I tried helping Nick prepare for an upcoming class he plans to teach at a local yoga studio. We did a role play of sorts, where I dutifully performed all of the positions according to his instruction. But my body was tired, my muscles uncooperative, and really, I’m not always the poster child for accepting criticism… especially when it comes to physical feats of strength. I’d rather just be lazy.
Before we knew it, our back-and-forth banter began to pick up steam, exploding into a barrage of heated accusations. Frustrated AF, I rolled up my mat, collected my coffee cup and withdrew to the kitchen. And there we sat, in our separate corners, each thinking the other one was a ridiculously selfish human.
Feeling alone in this new, bleak reality, I wondered: is this it? Is this what kills us?
When you’re in a committed relationship and one person changes, you’ve got one of two choices: grow apart, or make room. In that moment, I decided growing apart was not an option. In just 8 years, we’ve weathered rougher storms. And ultimately, the outlook is good: we’re changing into new people.
That’s how life is supposed to work.
So, even though it feels scary and foreign, even though this unexpected distance between us makes all of the little everyday dust-ups feel 20 times heavier, this is not the end. Now is not the time to call it. Now is the time to ask better questions, persist in a humble state of not foreknowing each other’s reactions or responses as well as we once did.
We’re two changing people outgrowing the relationship we built, setting an intention to work together on rebuilding a larger, more spacious version to accommodate our altered selves.
That, my friends, is the challenge, privilege, thrill, terror of change.
Let’s do this.