Lesson learned: Change. Mention this word and you typically get a negative reaction. People often see change as something that makes them feel uncomfortable and produces stress because it replaces their comfort zone with the unknown. I know I experience a sense of anxiety whenever I am forced to accept a new computer program or smartphone. Change – fear of the unknown – not being in control – can be quite unsettling.
I suppose that’s why I found Frank C.’s approach to change so inspiring. This extremely friendly and gracious man, who had experienced tremendous loss, was about to embark on a major change in his life. He had decided it was time to move from his large, beautifully furnished home into a smaller, more manageable retirement cottage.
As we went from room to room, talking about the items he would take with him to his new residence, he recounted many stories of how his wife had acquired the decorative treasures that made their house a home. Sometimes the natural smile disappeared and his eyes momentarily filled with tears before he quickly regained his composure again. At that moment you wouldn’t have known that he had been widowed for sixteen years.
“You’re dealt certain cards”, he said with great strength. “You have to play them”. With great conviction and sounding like a philosopher he continued, “You have to adjust to the changes in your life and accept the fact that you can’t change getting older”. The lesson here was simple: smile and be positive. Go forward and don’t let the changes in your life derail you. Frank flashed his big smile again and I knew he would be alright. He would make this change work in his favor!