Nearly everyone on planet earth has a hard time with change. Think about this it. For every major change in your life, what kind of pressure did life have to put onto you to make you willing to change? Sometimes a job gets so stifling that you finally make the big change to find something else. Sometimes our health goes downhill so dramatically that we finally start making dietary/exercise changes or finally go and see a doctor. Sometimes relationships become so unhealthy that we finally confront someone, walk away, or decide to talk to a therapist. In each of these situations, it becomes blatantly obvious that change is necessary, but even so, it take much time to work up the courage to take the step toward change.
I think that this is sometimes because nostalgia is so strong. There are things that should remain the same. The traditions & celebrations that we enjoy with our families bring much needed stability to us and for those coming after us, down through the generations. If we change careers every year or two, the lack of continuity can be harmful for the financial health of those who depend on us. Change is not always a good thing. Sometimes perseverance & an old fashioned “stick-to-it” attitude is the best option for our situation.
Growing old is a sticky spot to find ourselves in. On the one hand, our families often look to us to be the long-term glue that holds the past & present together. As we age, we notice that they look to us for cues as to when we should say grace at the table & when we open gifts. Our children & grandchildren start calling to ask about special recipes that we make at the holidays. And often, it seems, that just as they are becoming nostalgic about the traditions we've held dear for years, we're finding that we need to move on and change in new ways.
Because our children & grandchildren are growing older, we might finally feel the freedom to do some of the things that we didn't think that we could before. Maybe, for some, that means traveling during holidays. Maybe it means that you've decided you're going to get healthy mentally &/or physically & it brings repercussions in your family life. Maybe it's something as simple as saying “no” when you really do not want to do something. So how do you determine when things need to change & when things should remain the same for the sake of stability?
- Consider yourself & others. Is the change that you propose something that is for the ULTIMATE health & well-being of you & the others involved? Notice I did not ask if it would FEEL like it was for their ultimate good. Oftentimes unexpected change does not feel fantastic. Examine your motives, then talk openly & honestly to the others that will be involved & move forward. If it is an extreme situation, or if there are addictions involved, seek counsel from a professional as you move forward. You may need their support in days to come.
- Consider the children involved. Very young ones do not need to deal with adult issues that are going on. Do your best to ensure that their worlds remain as stable as possible even if changes are required. Figure out how you can carry on a semblance of normalcy through the change & help them to have good memories.
- Keep important traditions. Determine which traditions are important to you & others you care about & keep them up. When there are huge changes (as in living situations) it can be difficult. If, for instance, you're moving to an assisted living community, but Thanksgiving has always been held at your house, work through where that celebration will now be held. You can keep the tradition while changing the venue. It may feel awkward at first, but you'll find a new normal to work from very quickly.
- In everything, show love. Whether you decide that nostalgia or change is the way to handle a situation, be sure to emphasize that you love the other people that will be involved in the decision. When people are sure of your love it will make even difficult things go much more smoothly.