Maybe I’ve grown old. I used to pride myself on being good at change – able to roll with the punches, take on new challenges. Recent events have made me aware just how set in my ways I can be, and I‘ve been humbled by how difficult it has been to adapt.
Two months ago, due to her long term unemployment, my mother moved in with me. Shortly after we settled in to the new living arrangements, I started a new job, in an entirely new industry.
While I am still working in Human Resources, I have always said that to do HR right, you must understand the business inside and out, and here I was, back at square one, unsure of the products, the lingo, the people, and whether I’d made the right choices.
Everything seemed different. When I came home, my condo had someone in it – someone very stressed and worried about finding work of her own. Things were rearranged. It felt crowded and foreign. At work, I was scrambling to get established, missing my old coworkers who knew and trusted me, and trying to make a good impression as quickly as possible.
And yet I was surprised by how little time it took to develop new routines to replace the old ones. My mother and I made space for each other, as best we could in a 550-square-foot place. We developed tasks to help each other out, and to create alone time. At work, I found a few new friends, admired my new managers for their skill and grace on the job, and even found a new place nearby to get good udon noodles for lunch.
The older someone gets, the harder it can be to make room in a life built just the way you like it for new people, new places, new ideas. When you are 20 years old, making room in your life is easy – everything is unfixed, and you are just discovering who you are. As years pass, a life is built, brick by brick, as you discover what is important and how to be authentic. Yet sometimes it’s healthy to kick the wall down and make room for something else entirely – even when it isn’t easy.
So, maybe I’ve grown older. But not too old – not yet. Though change isn’t easy, it is possible, and welcome, and ultimately, well worth the effort.
Photo credit iStockphoto