Updated: Jan 29, 2021
“Change is the only constant in life.” – Heraclitus
As defined by a dictionary, change is to replace (something) with something else, especially something of the same kind that is newer or better; substitute one thing for (another).
Aristotle states that change is the actualizing of the potentiality of a subject.
“What is’’ comes from the things it is and the things it is not. The things that are can cease to be. Those that are not can begin to be.
Life is as sporadic as the weather this December. Sometimes, it promises a sunny afternoon. Instead, we get drenched out of the blue in the next hour.
There is only so much we can control. As humans, we have to learn how to adapt and transition in a sustainable manner.
One of the things I dislike about myself is my optimism. It is so shiny and bright that it scalds my vision of reality. I imagine the best scenarios while in the gutter. The kind where rainbows and unicorns roam the land, where peaceful glitter rewrites all the wrongs like a magic eraser.
I would sit and wait till all resolved itself. Quite naïve, yes?
In 2016, in no particular order, my mother died. I finished university. I turned 21. I also broke it off with a lover.
One change was unexpected. The other two were not. One was a change I orchestrated from the necessity to keep my sanity.
In that same year, my sheer optimism had me merely waiting as the world restored itself to balance. Things only got worse. My brain could no longer be charmed into seeing through rose coloured filters. The kind where even the darkness is a fancy shade of ostrich pink. Everything kept spiralling into this loop of disaster I could not unravel. I was sincerely stuck. I gained 30 kgs, lost connection with reality, and misplaced my identity in the mix. I should mention, I was stuck for three years. I kept postponing my acceptance of the loss of what was, yet it had already happened.
Change is indeed inevitable- did you know that you can anticipate it? You can curate mitigation strategies to have an easier transition and reduce the weight of tackling unexpected grief.
“Doesn't expecting the unexpected make the unexpected expected?”
How to anticipate change
Always be vigilant.
It is the small things that count. All around us is a lesson in progress. I like to gaze at the sky. I watch the clouds move and witness the moon shifting its cycles. Watching these subtle shifts helped me develop an awareness of the changes inside of me. As well as those in my direct environment.
Early this year, I almost had a stroke. I could sense its possibility beforehand. My body was in a state of slight trembling for longer periods of time than usual. I could have ruled it out as constant anxiety but these vibrations felt different. I also had short migraine spells that induced the tiniest of blackouts. The day I went to the hospital, I accepted the possibility that I would be admitted and surrounded by panic. I carried my blankie, my sudoku and embrace for whatever came next.
When you are aware of the shifts around you, you can plan with an added advantage. You can transition with the change as it comes rather than panic.
Let your curiosity grow.
This one may seem little on the nose- be nosy. Hearing stories makes us aware of what is happening in the lives of others. Life has been before us and will be after us. There are many lessons to be learnt if only we let our wonder wander.
I listen to a lot of podcasts. Most are very niched down to me but that took exploration, trial and errors. These include people with the same illnesses, the same struggles as I, same childhood trauma. As well as the same career paths. I also incorporate in people who have differing opinions on life because it is easier to hear and learn from the other side of an argument when one is unable to interrupt. As a fly on the wall to conversations, I have been able to craft solutions to challenges. Those I am dealing with and know what the possible ones coming may look like. Be curious about what is happening elsewhere as well as what comes next. Then, you will have an insight into what could be. Both good and bad.
Trust your instinct.
Growing up, people said I liked to think I knew better.
Well, on matters concerning my life, I do know better. You have peripheral vision into your senses and yourself. Give your gut the respect it deserves. It holds data at its core that is simply phenomenal.
"I am not superstitious, but I'm a little 'stitious."
Michael Scott (The Office)
I was also called delusional because I would sense things that seemed irrational, so, I stopped trusting myself and my judgement. I regret that. We as individuals know self because our memories and realities are embedded within. You can sense those differences. They are not fabrications of your imagination. A day has seconds that shift to create it. They are small and slightly noticeable that most watches count only hours and minutes. Most people are not going to believe the change you feel and see. Do not waste time convincing them. Your life is not theirs to account for.
One of the packages Lyflyn offers is a membership. Participants have monthly goal-setting sessions. I insist you subscribe to it. It helped me tap into the possibilities of my potential. It is also a community of incredible support.
In my last post, I talk about how each of us is an empire of one. Well, wouldn’t you agree that empires should have a department devoted to risk management and strategic growth?
For every goal-setting session, I have a paranoia picnic and a pep talk party. Here, I let fear trail through my goals to help me see the uncertainties I am subconsciously aware of. A common phrase goes, “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.”
This one, my mom taught me. See, I was going to graduate in 2017 and her prayers in 2015 were for her to live to experience that. We would hold hands and pray for life but in that same spirit of solidarity, we had a plan for if she passed before then.
It was fool proof. All through 2015, we were sorting and filtering her things. I knew where her accounts were. I knew who she trusted.
When I got the accidental text from a stranger that she had died, I said a prayer and went to bed. She had prepared me for this possibility for the last two years.
Anticipating the change does not mean one will avoid the change. But it helps you manage it more efficiently.
Michelle Ivy Alwedo
Michelle is a storyteller. She uses narratives and introspection to explore different possibilities and perspectives. This helps her make better sense of herself and the world. She is also passionate about individuals achieving a sustainable, optimal level of functioning. Through her stories, she hopes to show how honest assessment and dialogue with self can help one restore balance.