Today is my Birthday! My gift to myself has come in the form of a realization.
Many of you know that my son and I share a strong dislike for change. We far prefer routines, stability and the familiar. This has not been a great year for that!
My kid who does not like change has encountered a lot of it this year. As with all us, there have been the changes associated with pandemic living. Both my kids transitioned to remote learning and far less socializing. For my son, one of his biggest constants for the last 8 years has been the structure of his swim team. That has been all over the place this year! As a high school junior, he has also been increasingly confronted with the impending change of college. And just to really rock my kids’ world, their parents got divorced.
That is a crap load of change for anyone! It has been hard. At the same time, DBT has taught me to always validate distress while also finding meaning in it. The meaning for my son who doesn’t like change is that he has come to see he can handle it! I am so proud of how both of my kids have taken each change in stride throughout the bumps. For my son specifically, I have tried to highlight that while he may still not like change, he can feel confident in his ability to handle it.
So, now for my Birthday realization… I have been so busy encouraging my kids and pointing this out to my change-avoidant son that I have forgotten to look in the mirror. I have done it too!!
I also hate change. I also have been through a lot of it this year. It has been very hard, but I can do hard things!
This “aha moment” followed a birthday text from a friend. As she wished me “Happy Birthday,” she remarked “what a huge year you made it through.” It’s not like this was news to me, but it suddenly really hit me.
It has been a huge year of change. There were moments I hated it and moments I liked it. I have cried through it, yelled through it and celebrated through it. Most notably, with a wonderful support system, I have handled it and come out a stronger version of myself.
It is not as though this is the first time I have experienced big changes in my life. Yet with the celebration of my ever-advancing age, I have recognized a new perspective on it. I have stopped fighting so hard against it. It is that fighting that often increases our distress. I have embraced the reality of it happening even in the moments of hating that reality. I have mourned the losses and recognized the gains.
I certainly haven’t become a convert. I still prefer the security of the familiar. I simply also recognize the growth that comes from change when we stop fighting it.
Feel free to remind me of that 😉
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