Change Doesn't Always Come With Our Blessing

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Sometimes we get too comfortable in our lives.  We get into ruts, we take life for granted, we live our lives going around in circles doing the same things day after day, week after week, year after year.  We may not even feel unhappy or unfulfilled because sometimes familiarity  means comfort, sort of like when we stay in the same job or unhappy relationship because what we're used to is more comfortable than change.  You know what I mean, right?  Then out of nowhere something comes along, some force beyond our control, and something happens to thrust us out of our comfort zone and into a place that we never thought we'd go.  And somehow....totally unexpectedly, even a little incredibly, we find ourselves not just surviving, but thriving in that unfamiliar territory.  Here's the story of the shake-up of my world, a force of epic proportion, a force that changed my life.

Carousel at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis
About 3 years ago my husband was on his second year of retirement.  I was still working part time as a Service Coordinator in a senior living complex.  I loved my job and loved the people I helped 'age-in-place' at my facility.  On the days I didn't work, we babysat our then 2 yr. old granddaughter.  Life was pretty awesome, but I didn't feel we were getting the most out of my husband's retirement so after a brief discussion with him, we decided it was time for me to retire.  That would afford us more time with our granddaughter and more time to enjoy this stage in our lives.  Well, if you've read the About Me section of this blog, you know what happened next......a month later my daughter was offered a big promotion with her company and that promotion would mean them having to relocate ....to Indiana.  If you're a grandparent, or a parent, you can probably imagine our devastation.  It was especially hard because this was the daughter who would never go on sleep-overs as a kid and called home everyday from college.  How could this be happening?  How could she possibly think of moving all the way to Indiana?
This is pretty much the vision I had of Indiana.....what everyone told me Indiana was all about.
Well, after much angst and deliberation, she realized she had to go.  She'd worked for seven years for just this position.  It would be crazy to turn down the offer, so in March of 2013 she and her family moved to Indiana, just north of Indianapolis.  Let me say here that our lives had not been without life-altering changes.  Our first-born daughter was diagnosed with insulin dependent diabetes when she was 10 1/2 months old.  At the time, that seemed like the biggest challenge we would ever face, but now, once again, we were being met with another challenge, one that seemed even more insurmountable. I felt as if my world had come to an abrupt halt and for a time, I seriously felt as though my life had come to an end.  I questioned my purpose and I felt empty and depressed.  The life I'd built, the family I'd nurtured, the entire world around me had changed.  Holidays would change as their absence left a void at the dining room table.  Our already small family was now down to five.  Our days were no longer filled with the sounds of sweet toddler laughter; our home was tidy and barren of toys or reminders of little girl playtime.  Life as we knew it, as we loved it, had come to an abrupt and screeching halt and it felt like someone had turned out the lights and taken away my breathe.
Well, it took a while but eventually I found my way out of the dungeon I'd found myself in.  John and I began to do the things we'd hoped to do during our retirement.  He was reading the books he'd saved for retirement and I rediscovered my love of photography.  We found ourselves taking rides, mostly to find subjects to shoot, but eventually what we found was ourselves.  We got to know each other again.....it'd been over thirty years since it was just the two of us.  In those thirty plus years we'd raised two daughters and as any parent knows, raising kids doesn't leave much time for focusing on just the two of you.  Even though I felt I'd worked hard at having date nights and anniversary dinners, we'd never gone away alone in all those years and when the time comes that you find it's just the two of you again.....well that's a pretty interesting time.  It's not even the same as when the kids go to college, although that's a challenging time too.  It's sort of like starting life all over again as husband and wife - a life where it's really just the two of you.  And if you take a moment to think about it, that's a really cool thing and a really sacred time of life.
Until Laura moved to Indiana, I was a homebody.  Like my Dad, there was no place like home.  But unlike him, I could enjoy some time away, even though that time was always limited to 3-4 days and a distance not exceeding a 4 hr. car ride.  Yeah....I know, it was pretty pathetic but I was happy with that. Things were different now.....I had a child living in the midwest....far enough to travel by plane or 13 hrs by car.  For a non-traveler, Indiana felt like the other side of the globe.  The first two times we visited, we flew.  Both times had adverse affects on my health.  Each time thereafter we drove and here's the point of today's post.....
Here's an example of change....my husband realized...earlier pic without and now with photo & quote.


Had life not thrust me out of my comfort zone I probably would still be happy.  Instead I have grown in ways I couldn't have even imagined.  I have hobbies that I am passionate about including photography and blogging, I have a reason to leave the house every day and have seen so many places I would have never had a reason to see before, I have traveled by car to Indiana (13 hrs worth) several times - making a four hour trip to the coast feel like a trip to Albany,  and I have seen some of the most beautiful countryside that I would have never seen had I not had a reason to get out of the Northeast.   All of these things and more are the result of one change, one change that I thought would kill me and instead has enriched my life in ways I couldn't have possibly imagined.  Now don't misunderstand, I still hate it that Laura and her family are in Indiana.  I hate it today as much as I hated it three years ago, but I understand and have for a while that sometimes change happens for a reason.  Laura has grown, her family has grown and she and her husband know they can live independently, far from any family, and thrive.  John and I know we can enjoy our retirement, just the two of us. We know we can survive 13 hrs. in a car together and enjoy it. We fill our days with adventure and fun and wonder how people can be bored in retirement, and everyday we feel grateful to be fortunate enough to be retired and enjoy this stage of our lives.    I still hate going away for more than four days, but at least I go.  I look forward to a day when our Indiana family is back in NY but until then I am making the most of what I cannot change.  On our recent ride back from Indiana (for the second time in 2 months), I was reminded of what a ripple effect one change has had in my life.  Like always I soaked up the breathtaking scenery along the route and reminded myself how lucky I was to experience it - something that I'd never have seen had Laura not been offered her promotion.  Remember....change often comes without our permission.  It's scary, even maddening and often beyond our control.  Sometimes, though, in the end change is the best thing that can happen to you and sometimes once the dust settles, you will see that the change that you stubbornly and relentlessly resisted isn't so bad after all and maybe one day you'll even be grateful for that change.  So next time you're faced with a change, one you are sure you aren't up to, stop for a moment and take a second to enjoy the journey.  You might just enjoy the view along the way.

Here's a glimpse of some of the beauty we experience on our drive to Indiana..............It's amazing what you can capture from a car window at 70 mph......

 On our first drive out, we even got to see Niagara Falls - frozen, but still Niagara Falls!

Change is hard but if we're patient, there's usually something worthwhile at the end of the road!  Happy Travels!

p.s. Although these photos accurately depict the drive from NY to Indiana, Indianapolis and its surrounding suburbs are even more commercialized than the Capital District. At the end of one of the streets in Laura's development, opposite the stop sign, sits a cornfield much like the ones above! Don't let people tell you Indiana is nothing but cornfields. ;)

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1 Comment »

One Response to “Change Doesn't Always Come With Our Blessing”

  1. Visiting from Giftie Etcetera. I understand that screeching halt moment all too well!

    ReplyDelete

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