Monday, 3 August 2015

Change...the only constant

"It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is most adaptable to change"
Charles Darwin

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Love it, loathe it, embrace it or fear it... however we feel about it, change is the only constant - the one thing we can be absolutely sure of in our lives (apart from death that is... jolly old post so far eh?!)  Stay with me, it does lighten up!

Some lives are, for a variety of reasons, destined to be more turbulent and complicated than others, and those who grow up with frequent change may learn to take it in their stride - sink or swim. Others may grow up with lives full of stability and regularity, but even the Steady Eddie's of this world will have to adapt to change at some point... big or small, like it or not.

Adapting to change is so much more difficult as we get older, especially when it's not by choice. As adults, we like to think we're the ones in control, and it gives us a bit of a shake when we realise that's not necessarily the case.

At the ripe old age of forty something, I've been through my share of change. Some not of my own choice, and at times leaving me uncomfortable, sad, or full of uncertainty at what may lie ahead. However, over the years, I've come to learn not only to accept and welcome change, but to embrace it, actively seek it out, and even force it upon myself!

Within a two year period during my mid thirties, I changed jobs twice, moved house twice, divorced, and lost my beloved dad! Prior to this unfortunate spell, my life had been fairly uncomplicated and, I have to say, the events of those couple of years hit me like a ton of bricks. Although I didn't realise it at the time, this very difficult period gave rise to a totally transformed mind-set in the way I deal with life, and in particular the way I deal with change.

These days, I'm a bit of a 'change junkie' - if there's been none in my life for some time, I find myself seeking it out and making it happen. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for 'if it ain't broken, don't try to fix it', but I've also experienced the amazing positive effect of even the slightest of change.  I'm reluctant to use cliches, but for me it really is about getting out of my comfort zone, and opening my mind to all things new - changing the way I think, and my attitude towards things, as well as the way I do things.  I'm not necessarily talking big stuff here, in fact on the contrary, it's often the very small things that present themselves, forcing us to take a step back, re-think and embrace something new - never to look back!

So, on a lighter note, here are some examples of a few slight changes I've made to my life over recent years, which may on the face of it seem relatively trivial.  However, by simply opening my mind where it might have previously been closed, and with a willingness to just let go and see what happens, for me these few small changes have led to incalculable wonderful results.

First of all... Cats!
I'd always disliked cats. Why? Well, I'd never really asked myself that until they inadvertently came into my life a little over ten years ago (my new partner, now hubby, had them).  Turns out the only real reason I could think up was that my mum didn't like them, never had, she said they were scary - must be true then. Or perhaps not. So, with no real reasoning behind my dislike for these cute, furry little purring creatures which seem to provide so much pleasure to so many people, I decided (quite out of the blue) to find out for myself.  Yes, much to the surprise of everyone who thought they knew me, I went and bought myself a gorgeous little kitten... and the rest is history, I fell in love immediately and have had cats ever since (three altogether, Jack, Lulu, and Maggie), what's more, I'd have another tomorrow!

The adorable Maggie - sadly Jack and Lulu are no longer with us :-( 

Secondly, Parmesan Cheese
One of the few things I disliked more than cats was Parmesan cheese!  How on earth could anyone eat that stuff, the smell is stomach churning - why would I even want to try it? Well, whilst on a romantic weekend in Rome, again with my then new partner (now hubby), sitting outside a wonderful restaurant located on an enchantingly busy piazza, sipping a large glass of Pinot, and partaking in a spot of beautiful people watching, I waited for my Fettuccine to arrive.  It arrived... covered in a heavy 'dusting' of grated Parmesan aaaghh!!  You know what it's like, new relationship, beautiful setting, sunshine, romance...  I couldn't send my dish back and spoil the moment.  There was only one thing to do, give it a try. You know what's coming next... yes, I loved it, and now struggle to accept any pasta dish without it.  Why did I deprive myself of this wonderful taste sensation for so long?!

Pasta's just not pasta without it!

And last but by no means least...Camping!

And so, onto the most recent change in my life.  Following my first ever camping experience at the age of around 17, which resulted in tears and a late-night check-in at a nearby B&B, I vowed to myself... never again! And that was that, mind closed to camping for the next 30 years. More recently however, I have become increasingly interested in the music/beer festival scene, and thought perhaps I might just consider giving camping another go... however only as a necessary means to experiencing the pleasures of a festival.  So, much to the complete disbelief of my hubby, I suggested we went camping... to a beer and music festival of course.  I had a wonderful time, and thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience - even putting up the tent in the pouring rain.  I knew I'd enjoy the music (and the beer!), but I was totally taken aback at how much I loved the camping element of our trip. We have, during the course of this year, upgraded from tent to clapped out old camper vehicle, but since that first camping trip to our first festival just under a year ago, we haven't looked back. If you've read some of my previous posts you'll know all about 'Billy', and we're looking forward to many a camping adventure to come.  I am totally converted, and a truly happy camper!

Now although life for me seems fairly settled at the moment, I know change will always be just around the corner, some for better and some for worse.   So, when it is time for a change, whether or not of my own choosing, here are a few quotes I'll try to remember...

Don't fight change, become a student of it, it's the only constant
Change - expect it, anticipate it, welcome it 
See change not as a threat, but as an opportunity

and remember...

If nothing ever changed, there'd be no butterflies! 

Thanks for reading!


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