The evolution of a life

It isn’t often that I have writer’s block. I was blessed and cursed with a whole lot to say (at least when I’m writing). But for two days this week I sat at my keyboard and drew a blogging blank.

It isn’t that I didn’t have any words. It’s that I had too many. You see, I’m trying desperately to finish the Redefining Love book, so I can finally get it out into the world. I thought I could distract myself for just a thousand words or so to do my weekly blogging, but I guess my mind wants to stay there in that book writing space. 

Finally, as this second day of the week wound down with no blog to show for it, I decided I needed to do some recycling. For over eight years I wrote a weekly column in a couple of small town Montana newspapers. I don’t like to republish old work in the Redefining Love community, but this afternoon, I pulled up that old archive in search of something to inspire our discussion. 

And so, without further ado, please enjoy these musings of a younger version of myself… 

The evolution of a life

This post was first published in the Lewistown (Mont.) News-Argus and the Sidney (Mont.) Herald on January 23, 2016.

If I could do an audit of my brain, I’m willing to bet the single most predominant thought over the entirety of my life has been about change. I have been obsessed with change for as long as I can remember. I have vacillated between being terrified that things will change and zealously hoping for a change that isn’t coming fast enough.

When I was a child and young adult, I mostly feared change. Often I would stick with something counterproductive long after I knew things needed to change, simply to avoid the discomfort. Change is always associated with risk, and I have never been much of a risk taker.

On the rare occasion that I looked forward to a change, such as graduating or getting married or getting a new job or having a child, I became so obsessed with how great life would be after the change came that I didn’t enjoy where I was in the moment. I elevated the change to such unrealistic heights that when it actually happened, there was no way it was ever going to be as great as I’d imagined.

I was setting myself up for failure and disappointment. 

I convinced myself that the change would be all things wonderful and rosy. To admit even a single struggle associated with the change was to become terrified of it.

I had zero understanding of the need for balance. I believed that everything was either all bad or all good. There was no middle ground. And so I lived with a continual sense of dissatisfaction. 

When things were staying the same, I was constantly daydreaming about how they’d be if only they would change. When things were changing, I was equal parts terrified and disappointed – terrified because I didn’t know what was going to happen, and disappointed because things weren’t going exactly as I’d imagined they would.

By now I have experienced enough change to realize that even when it’s uncomfortable it’s probably for my own good. It’s cliché, but it’s absolutely true that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger (and bolder, more courageous, more compassionate, more empowered, more whole).

What I still struggle with is being in the moment. 

My life is in the most stable, content place it’s ever been. And yet, I find myself continually waiting for something new and exciting to happen. I’m sitting in the front row, watching my own life race by, waiting for the previews to be over to get to the main event, the Big Show.

What I still struggle to accept is that what’s happening right now is actually It. The here and now is all there is. Evolution is defined as “the gradual development of something, especially from a simple to a more complex form.”

I need to accept that life is always changing. During the static times, my world is changing in minute ways that are undetectable to the human heart. These tiny changes are slowly accumulating, and eventually they will overflow. When that happens, a big change will come with it.

The tiny changes aren’t to be discounted, and the big changes aren’t to be feared. They are all a necessary part of the evolution of a life.

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