Did you ever notice how similar the words “change” and “challenge” are? I don’t believe in coincidences, but maybe there is a reason why they are so similar. I think it’s in our nature to resist change, because it goes against our innate desire to be safe and comfortable, which causes us to see the change in our life as being challenging.
Even small changes (like switching actors for Darren on Bewitched) can be unsettling. Absorbing bigger changes can be life-shattering. Anything from deciding what color to paint the living room to the death of a loved one, “springing forward” and “falling back” once a year, or choosing something you’ve never eaten at your favorite restaurant, or deciding to take a job in another city (or another job at all!) can be disturbing and disruptive. But one thing in life (besides death) that is guaranteed, is change.
Take retirement. I got my first job as a teenager, longer ago than I care to admit, and except for taking the summer off after I graduated from high school, I’ve been working ever since. I’ve been in the same industry for most of that time. I have worked hard, and I’ve worked well, and I have a lot to be proud of.
As I get closer to the other end of my working years, the idea of not having to go to work starts becoming intimidating. This isn’t taking two weeks vacation. It’s the rest of my life! I don’t have a pension to rely on, other than my own savings (thank goodness for 401(k) plans!) and a lot of hoping. The questions start racing through my mind: Have I planned well enough? What if there is an unexpected emergency? What will I do if my money runs out?
As I ask myself these questions, I have also been doing what my job refers to as “readiness testing.” I use retirement calculators online. I question my financial planner. I calculate my own scenarios. I try to think about things that could disrupt my life even more than just retiring. All the signs point to being on track – more on track than I could ever trust, yet still, I have trouble trusting it.
A former co-worker retired recently, and when we were talking recently, she said she went through the same thing. In fact, she still does sometimes. I guess it’s in our nature to doubt ourselves and to doubt the world around us. Her financial planner has had to even get almost aggressive with her to insist that she’s going to be okay!
Fortunately, one of the things I have learned to trust in life is the abundance of the universe. In all my years, I have never experienced anything that I didn’t survive. And in hindsight, with only a few exceptions, there is hardly anything I experienced that was as bad as I expected it to be, or in some cases, as bad as I thought it was at the time. When I’ve put my heart and mind to it, I have manifested everything I have ever wanted or needed (and even a lot of things I haven’t wanted or needed!) I’ve come through every challenge, every obstacle, every change, and by some miraculous twist of fate, I have survived all of it!
What I also have to remind myself is that it isn’t retirement that I am finding so intimidating. It’s stepping out of my comfort zone. The decades of depending on something to do from 9:00 to 5:00 every day, and having a paycheck twice a month to cover my bills. All of that will go away one day, sooner than I may be mentally prepared for, but it will come.
As much as I have cherished the thought of looking into the future when I could just wake up and do whatever I want Every. Single. Day., it is still intimidating to think that it is not only possible, but imminent. I can be thankful that I have learned the advice of a 19th century philosopher and writer, Andrew Jackson Davis, who was inspired with the following wisdom: “Under all circumstances, keep an even mind.” Though my mind is not always even, I have this reminder, and it is always more even than it might be otherwise!
The time for my “permanent vacation” will come, and it will pass, and everything will be okay. And it will open the door to many new and exciting things that I just can’t see right now. I know can make that leap of faith knowing that I will land safely, wherever that might happen to be. And when change is challenging you, you will do the same! Trust in yourself. Trust in God. Just trust!