Hi everyone! I’m Chloe, a friend of Liz’s from Ohio. I attended a small group Liz led for all 4 years of college in Toledo. I currently live in Cincinnati, Ohio with my husband and pets working as an RN. I’m thankful Liz and Angie are letting me share some thoughts on the blog today!
2014 was the most significant year of my life so far when it comes to major life events. In a matter of 6 months I had graduated with my Bachelor’s degree in nursing, got married to my long distance boyfriend, moved 200 miles from all of my friends and family in my hometown, and stepped away from leading in the ministry I was a part of throughout college.
Initially when my husband and I had gotten engaged I thought it would be a great idea to allow all of the changes and transitions to happen simultaneously and to get it over with. After living in my hometown for 22 years, I assumed change would maybe be hard and stressful at times but ultimately fun and exciting—a new adventure full of nothing but fresh opportunity.
I had no idea that I was planning for not just one area of my life, but for my entire world to be rapidly transitioned into something wildly different than what I was used to.
Social media is FULL of pictures of people doing adventurous things. Whether it’s climbing mountains in national parks, exploring oceans in foreign countries, shopping at markets in different cultures, or even just creating some fancy original paleo recipe, we’re all (myself included) guilty of craving new experiences.
The idea of running away from our daily grind and losing all comfort zones is enticing. Even to simply engage in something challenging that requires some type of manageable struggle can give us purpose and meaning (especially if we’re able to document it with an awesome photo). Can you relate?
Our generation is obsessed with the idea of taking risks and jumping into things way over our heads. Sometimes it’s just to prove we can flourish somewhere else or in something else. Other times, it’s to prove to ourselves that we are almost as cool as we try to convince others that we are through the screens. This desire is not necessarily always a bad thing. Adventures have the ability to refresh our souls. They temporarily satisfy the innate craving we have for something more and something set apart.
But there is something I’ve noticed these past two years in myself, and through observing others. The moment when we decide to take a leap and start a new chapter in life, we suddenly realize that real life, adventurous change is well…uncomfortable. It’s rarely glamorous, regularly painful, and literally full of raw difference.
Since 2014 (my huge year of transition), I’ve experienced more significant changes— like living with my husband and buying a house and getting a dog. But for me, I think it’s been the unnoticed changes that ends up being more difficult.
The time I spent alone or by myself in college used to be virtually limited to driving in my car—just me and the radio, mixed CDs from Sara and playlists, daydreams and prayers. The rest of my time was spent going from classes to coffees, to meetings to club and to lunch, small group and home.
I never realized how much time I didn’t spend alone during my college years until it was the only option I had here in Cincinnati. Initially it broke my heart. I love being with people and I think those who know me well would agree that quality time is my absolute favorite way to spend time at all. Being alone often made me feel uneasy. It was unfamiliar.
I sulked for a time (maybe even too long, really) but there came a day when I woke up from my discouraged attitude and decided that l needed to change my perspective. The reality was that the change had occurred. Going back wasn’t an option. And honestly, the more I thought about it, I wasn’t even sure that I wanted to go back to what life looked like before anyways.
Spending more time by myself actually allowed me to find and explore parts of myself that I didn’t know. I’ve found myself digging into my habits and qualities and piecing together who I really am, just me without anyone else. I have yet to fully figure myself out but it’s becoming much more enjoyable rather than tortuously being alone. I’ve learned that serious growth as people happens when we encounter change and choose to run with it instead of from it.
Change is difficult when we resist but becomes natural when we adapt and choose to find contentment in the new normal.
Ultimately, perspective can be our best friend or worst enemy when it comes to change. Do we kick and scream, dwelling on the past and wishing things could just be comfortable so we can have our imaginary control back over our lives?
Or do we embrace the uncertainty of a fresh opportunity and engage in the adventure we have yet to grasp?
Today, I’m choosing the latter.