Thursday, February 24, 2011

Change--"You better learn to like it"

When I was in the third grade, I got a C on an assignment I did for social studies. I was not used to getting C's, and I didn't like it. As I stood in line at my teacher's desk to get extra help on the paper, I said something like, "I hate social studies" to the friend in front of me. My teacher happened to be walking by me just then, and she took me by the shoulders and said, "You better learn to like it."

I remember thinking she was so mean for saying that, and for getting all in my face about it. But by the end of the year, I had forgiven her, and I remember giving her a beautiful bouquet of flowers as a goodbye present.

I was thinking about this teacher--Mrs. Armstrong--and that experience yesterday, when I found myself saying to myself, in the voice of a whiny third grader, "I don't like times of transition. That's why I feel so panicky and am crying so easily." And just like that, Mrs. Armstrong appeared in my head, grabbed me by my imaginary shoulders and said, "Well you better learn to like it."

She was right 25 years ago, and she's right now--I had to learn to like, or at least tolerate, social studies since I was going to have to take the subject for the next 10 years or so. And I'm going to have to like, or at least learn to handle better, times of transition because I'll be dealing with those not only for the next 10 years--but for the rest of my life.

Things are always changing. And as scary and anxiety-producing as that is, life would be awfully boring if we did the same things over and over again ala the movie Groundshog's Day.

So how exactly am I going to go from being a crying, anxiety-ridden mess to someone who calmly embraces not only change but also the time between now and when that change actually occurs?

I don't know exactly, and if you have any ideas, please please please leave them in the comments. But here are some of mine:

* I'm going to make a list of the things I need to do to help make this change happen.

* Then I'm going to delegate tasks to different days of the week. That way, I won't be relaxing at home, have the anxious thought to do X, Y, or Z, and make a mad dash to do it Right Now. I'll remind myself, I have a plan. Breathe.

* Whenever I get panicky, I'm going to acknowledge that I'm panicky, and that it's OK to feel that way. After all, change is scary, and, as Tom Petty so aptly put it, The Waiting is the Hardest Part.

* I'm going to exercise and meditate daily, the best stress relievers I know.

* And maybe I'll have a few more "conversations" with Mrs. Armstrong. Best Blogger Tips


Anonymous said...

Happy to see you are back on the blog. :) One thing I might suggest, and this is advice that has been given to me recently, is to change the "should" and "need" to "want." Makes it a little less judge-y. :) YOU GO!

Anonymous said...

good blog Chris, how many people can reference a Tom Petty song and Mrs. Armstrong from the third grade? Umm one person, that's who. I had Mrs. Armstrong too, but I don't remmeber any words of wisdom from her. So I will have to live vicariously through her words to you. haha, - Greg

Susan Johnston said...

Glad to see you're blogging again! Love how you tied in your third grade teacher. For me, it was math and science, not social studies, that made me tear my hair out!

RobynBradley said...

Yay, Bug! Glad you're back. And you're so right about cha-cha-cha-change! :) I'm all for meditation and visualization -- helps me a ton. Wishing you much calm and strength during your upcoming changes.