Good, Scary Change

A fellow writer recently asked our writer’s group how we felt when reading our old writing. Like, what if we believe differently than we did several years ago and changed our minds about some big things in the world? What if we got some things WAY wrong?

I didn’t hesitate to tell her that initially I feel embarrassed–head shaking, blushing, mouthing “what the hell?” kind of embarrassed. Like seeing a picture of yourself in TBT form with big bangs and shoulder pads to match (that sure dates me). After that first burst of emotion, I settle into neutrality about who I was a decade ago, acknowledging that we all grow and change. Change is inevitable. Life on this planet can knock us around and traumas can change our brain structure and any number of good, hard stuffs can open our eyes and heart to new information, learning, and growth. When it comes down to it, I sure hope I read this post in another decade, blush, then see how much I’ve grown. I better be different in 10 years. No way do I want to stagnate in this big beautiful adventure!!!

Change and growth can be scary because there is always great potential for loss in growth. The emotional math of that statement is perplexing but still true. I often try to find a way around it, but always come out with the same product: I will grow and simultaneously, I will lose.

I witness this phenomenon each summer in my garden. Growing a garden is one of the joys of life in Minnesota. The months of 4am to almost 10pm sunlight create a short but powerful growing season. All that light can cause a tomato plant to develop quickly and prolifically, overshadowing and neutralizing any plant nearby. I can tie up, prune, and guide the tomato plant all I want but if it is gonna grow I can’t stop it. Sometimes that is disappointing. I was really looking forward to making chile rellenos one summer, but my tomato plant consumed all the sun and space of the pepper plant.

That same cycle happens in our own lives. As one area of our life grows another area is overshadowed, maybe even to the point of extinction. That prospect can be as terrifying as it is exciting.

Our family went from 2 kids to 5 in just 15 months. We made plans for growth, becoming foster parents while trying for another biological baby. We didn’t imagine the growth we desired would be quite so HUGE or that it would require ALL the space for years. That was scary. I even resented the growth sometimes. I missed my friendships. I missed reading books. I missed how easy it had been to take day trips with only my oldest 2 kiddos. But our big, new family was awesome. I couldn’t deny that.  

Have you experienced growth that changed you? Maybe you’ve had some big business wins that have eclipsed your time with family. Maybe you’ve developed friendships that are so fulfilling that the “bare minimum” at work is all you can do. Maybe you’ve has some trauma that requires everything you’ve got just to breathe and eat. All of these change us and move us to new places in this big, beautiful world. And as scary as they are, they can be good. Don’t be embarrassed or afraid or sad when you look back in a decade and see change galore. Don’t be afraid when you lose things that used to be THE most important things. Grow. Change. Embrace your new space.

What growth are you seeing right now? Does that scare you or excite you? What kind of support could you use in your growth? I’d love to hear from you!