Changes are never easy, even if they change your life from worse to better. Of course, you may not know they are changing that way until after everything is said and done.
Four months ago, I was drowning in debt, frustrated by my job, and just unhappy more often than not. I was pretty miserable. I felt unable to free myself from everything that was weighing me down. Honestly, I hadn’t felt that low since I was back in high school.
Fortunately, life isn’t about sameness. Things change, whether we want them to or not. Even if, at the time, they don’t seem like a good thing, it may be a necessary thing.
First, I filed for bankruptcy and got rid of my house. Definitely a necessary thing. But going from living in a house by myself to a room in a house with six other people was a serious adjustment.
Then, I lost my job. Perhaps a better phrase would be, I was “phased out”, “dismissed”, or maybe “saved”. The majority of my unhappiness was the job I had. Not the actual work I did, the actual work was easy. I enjoyed doing it and took pride in doing it right. The unhappiness stemmed from those above me who cut corners, found sneaky, under-handed ways to get things done. I wasn’t the only one frustrated and unhappy, I just happen to be the one who was freed from that misery.
In the span of a few weeks, I went from employed home-owner to unemployed free-loader.
I didn’t adjust well to the changes, to put it mildly.
I had lived on my own for ten years. I had become accustomed to living a quiet home life, being responsible for my own life. In that time, I had a full-time, decent-paying job, I bought a car and paid it off, and I bought a house. In short, I had done all the things a grown-up should do.
But this isn’t the 1950’s or 60’s. In the 21st Century, it’s more about having multiple careers, going back to school in you 30’s or 40’s, and the slow elimination of the middle class. People are living with their parents longer or having their parents come live with them in the twilight of their years. The only way a family can get by on one pay cheque is if that one pay cheque is huge. Otherwise, both parents work, sometimes maybe even two jobs.
Regardless of all that logic, I still felt like I failed. Failed as an adult. Being the youngest sibling, I always got help if I needed it. Every time I’ve gotten help, I’ve been appreciative. But when I was on my own, I felt I was finally an individual, that I could take care of myself.
Now, I’m back to the needing help mode.
That’s probably why for the first month or so, I wasn’t a very happy camper. I felt like a failure, felt like the youngest sibling again instead of an adult, a burden on everyone.
The thing is, there are hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands of people out there in the same position, or worse. There are people who don’t have families to turn to when life turns to lemons and they can’t make lemonade. Some people end up living in less-than-favorable places, or in shelters, or even on the street.
Logically, I know I’m lucky and very thankful to be where I am. But a part of me still feels like that youngest sibling, always needing a hand.
Fortunately, I’ve also come to realize something else.
This is my opportunity to start over. For change!
One of the reasons that life can be so hard it that we try to keep things the same. When change occurs, we are generally unhappy. But life is about constant changing. If we can’t find happiness within that change, we will always be unhappy.
Life has given me this chance for change.
I just have to make the most of this chance.