Change is a strange thing. Life is full of it. It’s something we do, whether we know it or not, whether we like it or not, every single day (because no two days are exactly alike). Most of us hate it. It unsettles us. It makes us look backward and reflect on what was – and how we got to the point that we are, currently, that effected the change. Change, like time, is something that we cannot stop. And often the two go hand in hand… change often comes over time (rarely does anything truly happen overnight – most times, even in small ways, it has been in the works for awhile). And rarely is it something that we can hinder, or speed up, to our own liking.
There has been a lot of change in my life lately, though I suppose that’s no different than any other day, any other year, any other time. But it FEELS different. Sometimes when things change, I have a relative idea that things are going to be mostly the same for me, even though the surrounding circumstances are very different. But 2014 has been a different entity entirely – and I sort of got the feeling that it would be around Christmas time and into New Years when I found eight dollars in my purse that had been hidden since early 2013. The funny thing is, at least thus far, most of these changes haven’t directly affected ME, per se, but they have forever altered the way that I will interact with my family.
Last weekend I went to Kentucky for my sister’s wedding. As I’ve written before, I hate weddings. But I went anyway, because whether we are close or not, she is my sister. And I went because she personally asked me to come. I made the trip as pleasurable for myself as I possibly could, scheduling many things around the wedding to keep me properly occupied, but it still didn’t change the fact that I had to be in that town for that wedding on the date.
Right up to the ceremony, I kept myself busy – running errands, visiting the cemetery, helping with the decorations (and taking them down afterward), doing whatever I needed to do to keep my mind off of the fact that I really did not want to be there. Because I’ve learned that keeping busy is the only way to make time fly. Keeping busy is the best way to stay occupied.
My sister seemed happy, and I was happy for her. I’ll be honest, I didn’t feel great about this to begin with. They hadn’t dated that long, and he seemed awfully young. But his whole family was there, and he looked ridiculously happy as well. After talking to his family at length that day, and realizing that these people were really, really nice, I started feeling better about the whole thing. I can’t say for sure that the marriage will last – who can these days? – but I know that she is in good hands and, whether we’re close or not, she’s still my little sister.
During the ceremony a journal was passed around for people to write marital advice in for her. I couldn’t think of anything to write right then… after a failed marriage and nothing particularly substantial or promising afterward in relationships(and it’s been six years), I’m not exactly the poster child for giving sage advice in that area (even though I write about them). So I didn’t write anything. The wedding went off without a hitch, she was married, I helped clean up after the reception as quickly as I could since I had to get back to Louisville to see a friend later that night, and the day I’d been dreading since February ended – mostly painlessly.
The next day was when it hit me. Things have changed now… irrevocably. Coming back to Kentucky, when I DO come back to Kentucky, will never be the same. It will never again be a matter of just going to my parents’ house, seeing her there, spending a few days, and leaving. Because when she IS there, she won’t be alone. And most of the time, she will not be there – she’ll be at her house, in another county. And then I realized what I should have written that day. It was too late to write it in the journal, so I sent it in an email instead:
It hit me last night when I was getting ready to go to sleep… you are married. Nothing will ever be the same anymore, coming home to visit will never be the same anymore, but that’s okay. Change is a part of life, and without it, we never really get anywhere…
…I didn’t know what to write in your journal yesterday, and so I didn’t. But if this had come to me then, this is what I would have put in there:
Take every day as it comes. The whole point of life is to be happy, and if you are both happy in the moment, always, you don’t ever have to worry about being happy tomorrow.
Because all of this is true. Change, in and of itself, is a part of life. Without it, we’d be stagnant. Without it, we’d be stuck in a never-ending pattern that never gets us anywhere – things would always stay the same. And while, maybe for some moments, that would be a good thing, for others, it would not be. And even for the good moments, change is necessary so that we can move onto the next phase of wherever it is we are supposed to be going, good or bad. The hard part, in essence, is being ready for it, whatever it brings.