Don't fight change, embrace it.
Updated: Jan 31, 2019
Being back from America, back on my college campus I said bye to for 8 months feels weird, and that is an understatement. Yes, I've been in America longer than Europe obviously, but something feels different. I feel as though I'm stepping into a world I'm once again just starting to grasp the basics of. I moved into a new place, no longer steps away from friends or my classes. I'm no longer an underclassmen, and I don't have my whole college career ahead of me, and to feel stuck is a daunting feeling.
I knew coming back from abroad would be a test, a test of my ability to cope with change, cope with reverse culture shock, cope with the idea that what I returned to is not what I left.
The world doesn't stop for you, and change is inevitable with time.
And I'm starting to realize that change is very scary, and feels very strange, but it is necessary. I'm making conscious decisions to cut out people in my life who don't seem to care I was gone for 6 months. I'm realizing there is a great big world and there is so much opportunity that I can grasp if I just put myself out there.
I knew in my gut I'd come back on campus and feel different, but a part of me wished it would be exactly how it was when I left. One of the many difficulties of leaving somewhere for so long is returning. The creeping thoughts loomed in the back of my mind while I was away, will everyone have forgotten about me? Will I still feel the same way I did when I left?
When I returned I realized the answer to both these questions were no. Yes, not everyone forgot about me. But the people who don't matter, the people who clearly don't think I matter did forget about me, in a sense anyway.
Because change affects people, but it hurts the hardest when it affects friendships or relationships.
What I'm saying is, yes it sucks to come back from being gone to realize people have moved on without you. But what I learned is you can't dwell on that- you can't force a connection again because some people simply learn to live without you. And that becomes their norm, and you returning disrupts that comfort for them.
Change is normal. But too much change all at once is far from normal, something that is difficult to cope with. Change is stressful to all of us, because there is so much comfort in consistency. With no consistency, there is the constant thought of what's next? But what I learned from being abroad and constantly moving back and forth, the question of what's next shouldn't be daunting. Our fear of the unknown that change ultimately fosters shouldn't be so prevalent.
Instead of seeing what's next? as a daunting question, it should be more of an adventure, an opportunity, an exciting question we seek the answer to through our experiences.
If we were to look at change as something to fear, we would never embrace it, and we'd be stagnant, going nowhere forward.
I realized the only way I'm truly going to be happy in such a transition phase is embracing that sophomore year me is not second semester junior me. That I have grown, and will only continue to grow if I let myself. We are constantly (and dare I say the word again) changing. And so is the world and everyone around us. So it's a matter of how we are feeling in the present, and we can't anticipate how we feel until we are in that moment.
So I have a love hate relationship with change. Something about it I can't stand- the stress of keeping up with my own life and everyone else's around me. But it's also liberating in a way, because as little things start to change around me, I realize that I have the opportunity to be the reason for those changes.
One semester away from everything I once knew is not that long. But change doesn't need much time. And with each month, each week, each day, and even each hour, our life can change. And it's really a matter of how we cope, or rather, embrace it.
Consistency is key in some cases, but if we want to be happy, we need to realize that not everything will always be consistent with time. Consistency is comfortable but it's boring, unadventurous and definitely not something worth living for every day. Too much change can be difficult, but it is definitely more exciting than the comfort zone of consistency.
And I'm excited to finally look at change as no longer something to fear but something to be excited for.