I used to tell people that my life motto was, “If you don’t like something, just change it.” I’ve prided myself on being someone adaptable. Go with the flow. Receptive to change. As an Army Brat, there really isn’t another way; if you don’t like change, you won’t like life in the military world. My childhood and adolescence were filled with changes. I lived in seven houses and four states before moving to Texas for school in 2014. Those moves brought changes in friends, living arrangements, churches, and co-op groups. Growing up, I welcomed these changes with open arms and an open mind. Even when my college to career path changed freshman year, I adapted, made a new plan, and moved on. Change is always good, I thought. Change is always easy, I thought.
Until it wasn’t. A lot changed this summer. Since the beginning of summer, when I wrote this post (CW), I have lost a lot. Friends who didn’t believe me. Communities that betrayed my trust. Routines that were disrupted. I lost things that, at the beginning of this summer – and probably for a while before then too – I thought defined me. Things that I thought I couldn’t live without.
Friendships and communities are so precious to me. Being an Army Brat, I learned to make friends fast and never take them for granted. I invest myself, my time, and my resources into good friends because I know they are few and far between. I don’t end friendships. I don’t leave communities. It’s a good quality, I think, but it must have limits. I’m not very good at limits, as you might have guessed. It takes me a long time, and usually someone else’s guidance, to realize that someone has pushed over the limit. There have been a lot of crossed limits in the past few years, but only this summer have I allowed myself to see them. It’s hard for me to burn bridges. It’s hard to leave toxic situations when they were good in the beginning. It’s especially hard when the people crossing the limit have been friends for a long time. When they feel like home. But people change. Long-time friends betray your trust. And suddenly, change isn’t so easy.
My therapist told me to embrace change this week. I told her she was delusional. That this change is too hard. That losing friends, changing churches, and starting graduate school was too much to embrace. I won’t do it, I told her. The thing about change, though, is that it happens without you sometimes. Embrace it or be mowed over by it are the only choices you have.
So here I am. Writing about change. Attempting to embrace because I’m tired of being mowed over. Working through hard change to move forward. Trying to look at the big picture. Learning to find gains in the midst of loss.
In the words of my dear friend, Jackie (said in the nicest way possible), “Things change. People are different. Get over it.”