The reality of change slaps you in the face when you are standing in the midst of it. Many times, we think about change and visualize it as a break-away from our mundane, or perhaps unfulfilled lives. We idealize the concept of change, and if we make that big step towards it, we then realize that it’s not as easy and comforting as we expected it to be.
I write this to share a current personal experience, with the intention to encourage you to continue if you are presently going through the process. The reality of change is that it’s difficult. It’s bitter, and only when you stick to it, like white on rice (as we’d say in the Caribbean), is when you will begin to taste its sweet parts.
My experience started as I left the Caribbean this summer on a mission to northern Europe. I spent most of the time in Denmark, getting acquainted with Danish culture and their way of life. Seeing that I have grown up between cultures (South American, Spanish and Caribbean), I thought that this would be a pretty simple expedition. After all, how different can it be, right?
I couldn’t have been more wrong. The shock of northern Europe struck me from the moment I got on the plane to Frankfurt airport. Structure, cleanliness, and social consideration stood out like beacons, among the positives of the culture. This continued through my journey to Copenhagen. Although Germans and Danes strongly believe that they are very different to one another, this all becomes a big blur for an islander picked straight out of a nonchalant Caribbean frame of mind.
“Don’t worry, be happy…!”
The minute I landed in Danish territory I constricted like an ice cube. My emotions froze over. What I had anticipated would be a quiet, relaxing vacation, suddenly hunted down my laid-back nature like a ravenous polar bear surfacing from hibernation. Yes, I know I wasn’t quite in the Arctic, but at that point I felt so displaced that I could as well have been.
I’ll get into the intricacies of what I learnt about Danish culture in a further blog. For now, I’ll stick to what this trip taught me about the crude reality of change.
During my time in Denmark I lived an emotional roller coaster. I shared time in a place where everything felt unfamiliar, from the people, to the language, the food, and the cold ass northern sea water. This knocked me off my feet. I grasped for something familiar, but couldn’t even find it within myself. I had gone through so many changes in my life recently that I couldn’t find comfort in the thought of returning to a familiar place. I felt lost.
After a great load of psychological agony, I recognized that I was living the crude reality of the change that I had been working towards. I felt unsettled with myself in general, and the only familiarity that I could appreciate was unproductive patterns in my own behaviours. These surfaced clearly when faced with uncomfortable situations.
The Reality of Change: A Valuable Lesson
To cut a long story short, the critical lesson that I’d like to share with you is that an important part of life is about evolving who we are as individuals. This evolution comes about when we challenge ourselves, opening up to self-reflection and the ability to learn, change and improve.
I have learnt that the opportunity for change comes in many forms. It can range from a person who pushes you to recognize your weak areas, to situations that catch you completely off-guard, or to other experiences that at the time may feel unpleasant.
The moral of my summer voyage, where I sought after change without noticing it, is that we must bite through its bitterness. We must learn to recognize when the opportunity for change comes knocking at our door, and allow it to mold us positively. Shaking around our previously developed constructs or behaviours that may no longer serve us, is a part of the process.
As Kara, a beautiful inquisitive soul that I met in Copenhagen, recently wrote in a blogpost,
“But always I grow, and to me, growth is life.”
If you are going through a process of change and feel lost, I reassure you that you are not alone. The reality of change is that it’s a tough journey, made up of many steps. Follow your intuition, challenge yourself and keep going. I promise you that you will evolve and that afterwards, you will be grateful for it.