It’s like the prayer says

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference…

Change is inevitable; a necessary force that is usually, ultimately a positive one. But we’re so programmed to resist change; to get into a routine and get out of sorts when anything disrupts that flow. There are folks that will tell you to embrace the change, move with it, but it’s such a hard thing to do. There have been many changes in my life in the last year. Changes in where I live, who I live with, where I’ve been in the world, what my goals are, etc. The biggest changes have been in my personal relationships – mostly with friends. While my world around me has changed, and my situation has changed, I’ve inevitably been changed as a result. I feel like for the better, but another person may feel differently. You can’t expect to travel to another part of the world, even for as short a period of time as I did, and come back thinking the same exact way you did before.

Adjusting to the change within has been more of a struggle than adjusting to the changing externalities. It’s easy to shrug off the frustration of the changing world around you because there isn’t much that you can do about what’s going on in your surroundings. But having to accept the changes within is an internal tug-of-war. You know what you used to do, how you used to think, how you used to live, how you used to interact with other people and more importantly, your friends. But now your feelings have changed, and it’s difficult to articulate how. People are interacting with you differently and you wonder if you did something wrong. You swear that nothing about you has changed – that you’re still the same person – but you’re not, and the people around you have sensed it well before you were able to acknowledge, let alone embrace it.

It hurts, because having to work through those changes makes you re-examine many things, namely those relationships, and makes you question their basis and whether they can withstand the change. Unfortunately, a lot of times the answer is ‘no,’ and this is where our stubbornness, our inability to accept those changes, really kicks in. We cling to what was, but it’s no longer a reality, because what was, existed because of who you were at that time. Changing doesn’t mean you become an unrecognizable version of yourself – you are fundamentally still you. But there are enough changes that you have to move forward. Looking to the past can hopefully provide good memories, or at least a lessons learned from bad ones, but you cannot go backwards, no matter how much it pains you.

That’s what I finally got to realize tonight, that going forward may mean going without the people that I was used to having around. Sometimes you have to clear out some of the debris in order to see the path ahead and to go on that journey to figure out what lays along that trail. All you can do is hope that it will be worth it in the end.