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Leadership Thought #380 – Change Is a Fact of Life

July 6, 2012

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Change is a fact of life.  Like it or not we will get older.  Our minds will get sharper and then grow duller. Our bodies will get hard then grow softer.   Friends will come and go.  Loved ones will enter this world while others will exit.  If we have children, they will grow up, become independent adults, and leave the nest.  Our careers will follow a natural arc of emergence, growth, maturity, and decline. We will have periods of minimal responsibility and other moments where it feels like we are overwhelmed with life/work obligations.  It is difficult to grasp at times, but very few things will ever stay the same.

It’s obvious when you see someone fighting the inevitable changes in their life.  I find this to be a good thing when it relates to holding onto things that are positive like your health or your intellect, but not so good when it has to do with misplaced ego or personal vanity.  As with everything there is a continuum.  Of course, we should do our best to live a vital and robust life; however, how we view what this means will need to continually evolve if we want to maintain a reasonable level of happiness.  A big part of life is acceptance of those things we cannot change.

I’m at the midpoint of my own life which offers an interesting perspective.  I’ve more than likely lived more years than I have left.   As a result, time has begun to take on a new meaning.  I’m less interested in what’s possible and more appreciative of what I have. I also realize that I need to reprioritize my “bucket list” and that everything I’ve dreamed about doing won’t come true but maybe a few important things still will if I focus on them.  I am more in tune with the lessons the universe is trying to teach me and more open to the inherent possibilities.  I’ve long passed my physical peak but seem to be at a good place career-wise.  I’m less interested in money and more interested in my quality of life and personal impact.

I’ve experienced long-term love and companionship and then lost it and hope to find it again.  I won’t have any more children but am lucky to have two wonderful healthy kids who are a constant source of joy and pride.  My own parents are still here, but the relationship has changed dramatically as they are near the end of their own life journey and all that means.  Sadly, many people I’ve cared about, including a sister, have passed away but their memory lives on in many subtle yet important ways.  Given all this, I now better realize that time is finite and that your close personal relationships should be cherished and nurtured with this mindset while other relationships may be worth letting go and/or have served their purpose.

We can’t fight what’s inevitable and much of the change in our lives is inevitable.  However, we can learn to navigate it and learn from it.  We can strive to become better, more humble, less judgmental, and more understanding individuals.  We should certainly be proactive about making the positive changes that are important to us and live our lives intentionally, but we should never fall under the spell of thinking that we can command and control everything in our life to our own liking or fight nature.  The famous saying goes, “Man plans, God laughs.”  I’d like to amend this saying by adding “and then man accepts his fate, learns from it, readjusts and grows in a positive way.”

Embrace and learn from change rather than resist it!