© Kari Helm

Change is a horribly scary thing and a magnificently brilliant undertaking.

I’m at that age where there’s a lot of change going on in my immediate environment, both with myself and with my friends and family. It’s almost to the point of being overwhelming. I’m sure it is overwhelming if I let myself sit for a minute and grasp the gravity of it all. But I won’t because…

It’s too scary.

Maybe it’s my background of moving a lot as a child but I’m relatively used to change, more so than a lot of my friends. I’m not saying I’m a pro and that I don’t feel the fear that is associated with it, but I’m definitely more comfortable than the average folk. I don’t second guess wanting to do something, if I have the money and the means – I do it. If I don’t, well then, that’s when my decisive nature takes a front seat on the procrastination wagon. Either way, I’ve always had a deep kind of respect for change. Don’t get me wrong, I sorely miss the happiness of my childhood and ignorance of my youth but I can’t help but love the new and ever evolving experiences I get to be a part of as a new change takes place.

I know a lot of people that grew up in the same town their entire lives and, after high school graduation, they chose to go to a community college nearby – good for them. That’s not me. Out of all the colleges I was accepted into, I chose the one furthest away from home (even if it was just over the state border). When I rolled onto campus I was scared out of my mind but I was also so excited I was in grave danger of possibly peeing my pants. With the help of God, many prayers, and an overly eager Golden-Retriever-like disposition I was able to make friends almost immediately.

Now, I don’t have many years under my belt but I can say with some certainty that, so far, my freshman year at college was one of my happiest years. I loved it. Even though I was mind numbingly terrified of moving out of state, leaving all of my family and friends, and living on my own among strangers – it was one of the greatest changes of my life. Another great change came only a year later when most of my friends decided to transfer to new colleges or universities their sophomore year.

I was at a loss.

I hated this new change because I hadn’t been given a choice. I couldn’t very well tell my new friends to revolve their lives around me, no matter how much fun we could possibly have if they did. I reverted to a spastic three year old who wanted to throw temper tantrums whenever the need struck me and barely contained my inner sadness when I was trying to be happy on the outside for my friends. It was a time of whirlwind emotions, turbulence, terror, anxiety, and so on.

It was change.

Since that time we’ve all evolved into (hopefully) better adults, taken mostly different paths, and in some cases lost touch with one another. And that’s the fear I had that came true – that some of us would no longer be close. That we would no longer have those amazing friendships that once upon a time came so naturally to us. It’s really sad to recognize that some of the factors that weighed into our dilapidating friendships were both changes that we had no control over and those that we individually embraced. And I honestly don’t know which one is worse.

I can say with some conviction that change that is forced upon us can seem more difficult to cope with in the moment but in hindsight the changes that we’ve chosen seem harder to come to terms with.

Wow, that was deep.

Admit it.

Anyways, so there is no win-win scenario. I wish there was. I wish this blog post would reveal the secret way to forever evolve while forever staying the same – but it doesn’t.

And the reason I bring up change is because every day we, as individuals, and as a society make changes that will forever impact our lives. Yes, even the little ones that go completely under our radar. Right now, I seem to be in the midst of BIG changes that were brought about by a series of little changes – some that I had control over and some that were left out of my hands. Now I could cry or mope or curse or react in a series of similarly useless ways but I won’t, because sometimes the best way to react to change is to accept it. I know that’s way easier said than done, trust me, but I think the best ups and downs in life are those that we approach with a positive attitude.

So my life is evolving right now. I’m starting on a new path that I hadn’t seen coming so soon and I’m deviating from my original plan. The change is frightening to me in both good and bad ways and I honestly don’t know how to cope with it other than writing about it and forcing myself to put one foot in front of another. Sometimes it’s easier for me to face things when I write out all my pent up emotions and put a name to it.

This is one of those times.

Just like a story line can deviate from its original plot – so can life. The only thing is, this isn’t a book and I’m not safe. This time the person whose life is being altered isn’t some character in a novel whose story I can close at the end of the day and remember with fondness, maybe shedding a few tears here or there or celebrating with a mental slap on the back.

The character this time is me.

And I’m scared sh*tless.

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