"Change is inevitable. Growth is optional."
- John Maxwell
I know I'm running the risk of sounding like a broken record because I have already written about "change" on a number of occasions. So, in the past, I would have started the post with a humble apology to the reader for my incessant repetition. But I am not going to do that because I believe the way we think about and handle change can’t be talked about enough! And if I am being honest, this probably encourages me just as much, maybe even more, than the reader.
Many well-meaning people told me and my family how sorry they were for us and how we didn’t deserve to be going through what we were going through. I appreciated their sympathy, care, and concern, but when I heard things like this, I had a tendency to agree with them and join right in on my own little pity party. I am not saying we shouldn't sympathize with others. I am not saying we should never feel sad. There is most definitely a time for sorrow and when going through tough times, people need to lament and others to lament with them.
But the more I started to feel “sorry for myself” and wish that things were how they used to be, the more I would fall into feelings of sadness and hopelessness. My journey with brain injury has not been an easy one. It is something I wouldn't wish on even my worst enemy. It has changed my life in every possible way and change is never easy. Because change is so difficult, it is something we try to ignore and avoid at all costs. That was always my approach. But I am learning that whether we want to admit it or not, change, which can occur for any number of reasons, is inevitable and just a reality of life. I remember hearing a motivational speaker once say, "The only thing that stays the same is everything changes."¹
I am learning the importance of having the right attitude when dealing and living with my many changes. There are still days I choose to live in denial. I wish for and imagine life how it used to be, even when I know that's impossible. I may not come out and verbalize my disappointment, but on these days, it is clearly reflected in my attitude. But when I remember change is inescapable, I can accept it, embrace it, and grow from it.
My doctors, who can’t really explain how I am doing as well as I am, are also unsure of how much longer this can continue. I have to believe that means I should expect many more changes going forward, and that's a scary thought. So when I start feeling fearful about the future, I must CHANGE my perspective and focus on today. Because today, I'm alive, which means I'm not dead, which means I'm not done!
¹ Okay, it wasn't a motivational speaker. It was a country music artist I listened to in high school, Tracy Lawrence, and that was a line in his song "Time Marches On." If you want, you can listen to it HERE. Just prepare to be moved!