When I was growing up, I never thought of myself as somebody who would take a lot of risks. I was painfully shy and awkward, and really had no goals back then to motivate me to be anything more than what I was. I very vividly remember during a particularly big move across the country that I vowed that I would do anything I could to get back to Seattle, where I pictured myself going to college and finding a job and settling down. Looking back, I can't even think of a reason why except that I was comfortable there, and comfortable felt good.
Through the incredibly awkward process of puberty, I eventually became the overly-ambitious loud-mouth that I am today (hooray!), and with that came all kinds of adjustments. I am a huge advocate of exploring in your twenties, mostly because I've already explored like crazy. In the past few years, I've transferred schools, graduated early, and lived in five different cities, all in pursuit of many, sometimes conflicting goals. I emerge from that happy that I have a much clearer sense of what I want to do with my life, but also grateful that I am a person who can handle change well, because otherwise the beautiful and ridiculous journey would not have been possible. Everybody handles change differently, but those of us who are good at it have these attributes going for them as well:
You Have No Problem Being Independent
Whether or not you have a significant other or friends and family around, you don't mind being alone and making choices for yourself. A lot of the time we use the people around us as a sounding board for ideas, especially big, life-changing ones, but every now and then you just have to go with what your gut is telling you. People who are good at handling change are also able to listen to those gut feelings, and aren't scared of the idea of being in a situation where they rely solely on themselves.
You Make Friends Easily
Even the most independent people need some kind of support system, and moving around a lot, or working in a field where you're traveling most of the time means the ability to make friends is crucial. These days it is a lot easier than it used to be, with sites like MeetUp helping people with common interests find each other. But the tricky part isn't finding opportunities to meet people, but taking them in the first place. You have to be a person who is willing to come out of their shell or resist the temptation of Netflix every now and then if you're going to adjust to change well, or otherwise you'll never make any progress.
But You Also Know To Stay In Touch With Old Friends
"Change" doesn't mean that everything in your life should disappear just because you undergo changes. Staying in touch with your longtime friends and friends that you make along the way will keep you connected to the person were and the person you are becoming. Not all friendships have to last a lifetime, but the ones that endure are the ones that make up who you are, and you will need that kind of constant in your life when everything else starts to change.
You Aren't Afraid To Ask For Help
When you're making a huge upheaval in your life, it's no time to be shy or worry that you're asking something stupid. You can't expect to be able to navigate every little thing on your first try. The people who adjust well to change are the ones who are constantly asking questions, trying to give themselves a better construct for new surroundings and people so that they can find some sense of belonging a lot faster than being the odd one out.
You Frequently Do Things That Scare You
People who handle change well are often people who also thrive on it. There's the familiar Eleanor Roosevelt quote: "Do something that scares you every day." I firmly believe in it. When I'm doing something that scares me, something I never thought I would do, I can practically feel the electricity in my fingers, even if it's something as stupid as renting a canoe by myself without any canoeing experience. I didn't go from being a shy person to being a chatterbox overnight – It was a long series of doing little things that scared me, some of them embarrassing, some of them rewarding, but all of them worthwhile.
You Find Beauty In Little Moments, Not Just Big Picture Ones
If you're experiencing change a lot, your life is in total chaos. It's hard to predict what's going to happen in five minutes let alone where you're going to be in the next five years. If it's a lifestyle you're going to be able to handle, then you have to be able to appreciate even the smallest of goals that you achieve and happinesses around you. They say it's not about the destination, but the journey, and people who adjust well to change know that better than anyone.
You Say "Why Not?" More Often Than You Say "No"
It's easy to say "no". It's easy to stay inside or stay with what is familiar and comfortable. But very rarely do the kinds of memories that you cherish forever begin with, "That time when I decided not to go," and the big adjustments in your life are the same way. There will always be a hundred reasons not to do something, but the people who handle change well will tune them out for the one good reason they should, and make the kind of memories that last a lifetime.
You've Learned Not To Take Things Too Personally
Things happen. Jobs end, opportunities disappear, people change. Sometimes the universe just does what it does, and the circumstances have nothing to do with you. You can either decide to take it personally and be mad at the world, or decide to take it in stride and roll with the changes as they come.
You Never Lose Sight Of Your Dreams
In the end, it doesn't matter where you are or what's going on around you. The people who adjust well to change are the same ones who can adjust to not experiencing any change at all. Change for the sake of change isn't always healthy, and it takes a fixed determination on your goals to recognize which changes will suit them best and which ones ultimately aren't worth making.
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