The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new. — Socrates
I am in the process of making some changes to my life. This is exactly what I want to do—focus all of my energy on building the new. By nature, I resist change. The last two years have brought good things to my life, and in some ways it is hard to move on. I have grown from my recent experiences, yet I feel strongly that there is something new just around the corner.
I’m not sure if anyone else has this reaction, but sometimes I just have to mourn the loss of the old a bit before I am able to take on the new with the passion that it deserves. At the time I write this article, I am just beginning to come out of my mourning period for the old, so by the time it is published, I should be hitting the new with the steam of a locomotive. Unfortunately, this is only phase one of the changes in my life, so when phase two arrives, I will probably end up going through a second mourning period.
I don’t like these periods of melancholy. I want to be able to focus all my energy on the new things to come. Why, oh why, do I resist change?! It does feel like I am fighting the old—even though I enjoyed that period of my life—maybe even because it was so desirable to me. I don’t want to continue the battle with the old. I want to forge ahead with the good things in my future.
We need not feel that we must forever be what we presently are. There is a tendency to think of change as the enemy. Many of us are suspect of change and will often fight and resist it before we have even discovered what the actual effects will be. When change is thought through carefully, it can produce the most rewarding and profound experiences in life. The changes we make must fit the Lord’s purposes and patterns . . . Never should there be a time when we are unwilling to improve ourselves through meaningful change (Elder Marvin J. Ashton, “Progress through Change,” Oct. 1979 General Conference).
So how can I concentrate my efforts on building the new? Here is my plan:
- Wake up every morning, breathe deeply, and tell myself it is a good day.
- Make decisions on how to accomplish my new goals.
- Include God in all decision making.
- Make a timeline showing where I want to be regarding those goals in three months, six months, nine months, and one year.
- Set aside a block of time each day to work on my ongoing projects.
- Record my progress at the end of each week.
Change is good because it makes us grow, and it teaches us to be resilient, but it can also be frightening. The unknown is always a little scary. Nobody wants to fail, and taking on new projects often brings with it the possibility of failure. The interesting thing about failure is that it doesn’t always have to be bad. Failure can also teach us what we need to learn in order to succeed in future attempts.
There is something worse than failing; never trying and then always wondering if you would have succeeded had you made the attempt. I have done that a few times, and I have promised myself that I will never do it again. I would rather fail trying than not try at all.
Life needs to be experienced; not just marked off in time. It is more than getting up in the morning, going to work, coming home, and going to bed. Life is the process of learning and growing physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Growth is impossible without exposing yourself to experiences. Just as a tree can’t grow without soil, water, oxygen, and sunshine, people can’t grow without food, water, sleep, and life experience. Life experience comes from living life; not from hibernation.
Admittedly, I could be a hermit. I’m perfectly happy moving back and forth between my home office and the crochet project in the family room. That is my comfortable life. While it is good to feel comfortable, it is sometimes necessary for me to move out of the comfort zone of my little house and mingle with people who can teach me how to be a better person—the people who can help me build the new me. As much as I treasure the goodness of the old me, I want to cement in a few more bricks and make a new, better me. The next few months will be exciting as a begin working on the challenges ahead. No more fighting the old! I want to embrace building the new!
Tudie Rose is a mother of four and grandmother of ten in Sacramento, California. You can find her on Twitter as @TudieRose. She blogs as Tudie Rose at http://potrackrose.wordpress.com. She has written articles for Familius. You will find a Tudie Rose essay in Lessons from My Parents, Michele Robbins, Familius 2013, at http://www.familius.com/lessons-from-my-parents.