Publisher - March 2019
“The only way to make sense out of change
is to plunge into it, move with it
and join the dance.”
— Alan Watts —
What is it about change that makes it so scary? Is it the unknown? Is it that it’s better the way it is? Or maybe, it’s easier the way it is. Perhaps knowing what you have is better than fearing what you don’t, even if what you have isn’t that great. Regardless, there are two facts about change: 1. It is inevitable. 2. Most people don’t like it.
One of the most visual examples of change in the Lowcountry is the beach. The daily changes are remarkable. One day the beach will be spotted with hundreds of washed-up jellyfish and the very next day, there’s not a jellyfish to be found. What made all the jellyfish arrive one day and not the next? How can there be such profound change from day-to-day or hour-to-hour?
Profound change comes from the fact that the ocean and beach consists of life, and life—ALL life—consists of change. Journalist/author Gail Sheehy said, “If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.”
I’ll never forget the last healthy day I spent with my father. He, my mother and my aunt were visiting. They had arrived on Hilton Head on Thursday in time for the Partini. It was March 2008. We had the best time together. The entire weekend was delightfully filled with delicious food, fun games, great conversation and fits of laughter. That Sunday was the Hilton Head Island St. Patrick’s Day parade. I begged them to stay to be in the parade with us (Pink Magazine). I pleaded numerous times, like a little girl. They replied they would go to it next year.
My father was a Shriner in his younger days and in many parades. He loved the festivities, the camaraderie and being part of the action. I told him how the Shriners are always across from us in the pre-parade staging area, and how he could meet them all and hang out. I could tell he was torn, but he insisted on getting home.
As they drove away, I made a mental note of what an exceptional four days we had shared, and how I wished it didn’t have to end. I never wanted it to change. I wanted that moment to freeze and for time to stand still. But it didn’t because change has no freezing point. Unfortunately, my father had a stroke the next day, which was the beginning of the end. He passed away seven months later.
Change is a fact of life. You can be as sure of it as the sun coming up. Change can be happy or sad. Sometimes it is happy or sad solely based on your thoughts about it. One of my favorite quotes is, “Change your attitude, change your world,” by Norman Vincent Peale. Either way you approach it, negatively or positively, there is hope in change. Good things come out of changes that seem terrible at the time. I say embrace it—it make’s life worth living, and it’s the foundation of emotion. Without change, there would be no emotion. Everything would be stagnant, like an empty ceramic bowl sitting in the middle of an otherwise desolate table. Without change, life would be empty and intolerably boring.
What changes are you facing right now? Perhaps a new career is in your future, a divorce or an empty nest? Maybe a new love, baby or pet is right around the corner? Maybe you are facing being a widow and feeling hollow and lost? Are you new to the Lowcountry and don’t know anyone? Are the responsibilities of caring for a sick relative pulling you to move away? There are all types of changes on the verge of blossoming every second of every day. Louise Hay, best-selling author of inspirational self-help books, reminds us, “We are born in one day. We die in one day. We can change in one day. And we can fall in love in one day. Anything can happen in just one day.” With that in mind, what do you plan to do today?
Here’s what a few other well-respected philosophers have to say about change:
“For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” –Steve Jobs
“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” –Mahatma Gandhi
“When you are through changing, you are through.” –Bruce Barton
“Change before you have to.” –Jack Welch
“The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress.” –Charles Kettering
“Life has no remote...get up and change it yourself!” –Mark A. Cooper
Change can be scary. So can rollercoasters, yet there’s a line to get on and ride. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to approach change with the same vivaciousness—just get on and ride. Rebecca Wells, author of Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood may have said it best, “It’s Life. You don’t figure it out. You just climb up on the beast and ride.”