Friday, June 29, 2012

Just Do It

Someone once advised widows and others who had undergone a life-altering loss to avoid making significant changes in their own lives until some time had passed. I suppose this is to allow one to regain their equilibrium and prevent hasty action which might later be regretted.

That makes sense and is good advice for anyone at any stage of life -- think it through.

I've moved around the country a few times in my life. The moves always seem to have served my purposes and usually worked out for the best. But moving, changing your life, starting a new job are not easy tasks. I have always believed that we are all far too afraid of change. Change is a natural occurrence and we should stop avoiding it.

It's never a good idea to be foolish and indulge in destructive behavior. But we have become so hesitant to make any kind of change that we neglect taking any action at all.

I've known people who never did what they wanted to in life for some reason that must have seemed important at the time. This group includes people who took a career path they did not want because of parental urging, financial security or even something as flimsy as what other people would think of their choice. This unwanted career path never satisfied them and may eventually have grown into serious dislike before they jumped out of the field, moved away or were no longer able to work. That seems like a long time to do something that never suited you in the first place.

I've known people who married the wrong person but never took any steps to rectify the situation. Either they were afraid of divorce, afraid of what people would say if they were divorced, afraid they might be unable to support their family if they divorced, afraid of what a divorce would mean to their children, afraid of starting over… enough already with being afraid! I was divorced many years ago and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. Why would anyone spend a huge chunk of their life with the wrong person when they could take a leap and start fresh? I never saw the benefit of non-action.

I have a friend who detested a certain part of the U.S. It had a climate and other features that she strongly disliked. Yet while visiting that region, she happened to meet and marry a man who lived in that very part of the country. They married and she stayed, miserable all the time. She landed a job that she really liked, so when her marriage ended a few years later, she remained. Now nearing retirement, she is finally relocating to another section of the U.S. -- after spending about 35 years living in a place she has loathed. I'm happy for her that she and her family are going to live elsewhere. I know she is excited at the prospect. But 35 years is a long time to be somewhere that makes you unhappy.

Life is too short to do anything that you don't want to do -- whether it includes being married to the wrong person, working at the wrong job or generally being sorrowful. I think the reason that people are so fearful is a dread of what might happen. What if I leave this job -- which I hate -- and find another job I hate? What if I can't find another spouse once I'm divorced? We spend much of our lives dreading things which never occur anyway. So why waste time worrying?

I read all the time about people whose actions seem a little wacky. Young people who sail around the globe alone in a small boat. People who try to climb tall mountains, perhaps with tragic results. People who have lost every possession, struggled and sacrificed to better themselves and have finally succeeded. These are people worth admiring. For even though we might not agree with their risk-taking behavior, they took a chance on something that was important.

How do we know about change unless we are willing to take a chance?

No comments:

Post a Comment