Life is built on change and includes many stories as we ascend to the top floor. Our choices define us.
I like to think of myself with a head full of silver hair enjoying the view as I look out the window. For many women, the view may never change.
From the moment we are born, we are protected. All decisions are made for us, as hopefully our foundation of moral fiber is being built. Your building is only as good as the foundation it is built on.
I was fortunate. I was a military brat and change was a part of the first ten years of my life. As a result of the many moves to different bases, different schools, new cultures, and new friends I became adaptable and learned to embrace change.
Some women need the stability of living in the same house, fettered in the safety of a community of family and friends. Change can become messy or fearful when forced to go down a different path.
As a child, I recall when my Dad decided to retire from the military and become an insurance agent. It changed everything in our family of eight. Times were tough, but I can see now it instilled in us the lesson of hard work and team effort as we all became motivators as our Dad rose to the pinnacle of success. As a result of my Dad’s willingness to take a chance on change, my ninety-two-year-old Mom lives a very comfortable life.
Is it harder for women to make changes rather than men? Most women I talked to believe there is a change in the environment as more and more women are motivated by the desire to be their own person, completely dependent on themselves for their self-worth.
As we start our climb into adulthood, we can look back at moments where change was necessary. Sometimes it takes a slap of reality. Remember after graduating from college and you got your first credit card in the mail because you were going to be rich. Really… on a teacher’s salary and college loans and rent and utilities and car payment with insurance? The walls may close in as you take in the hot mess you made. As you gaze out the window, a decision is made – tear up the credit card, get another job and a roommate.
New doors will open when marriage becomes part of the picture. Fortunately, I married my best friend. Maybe not at the beginning, but both of us had to work hard to make changes so that I know, and he knows, “we are in this together.”
One of the hardest decisions a young mother discussed with me was to divorce her husband, the father of her two boys. It was also the most liberating as it got her boys out of a very unhealthy and bad environment. With hard work she has been able to provide for her boys ultimately changing her own destiny guided by love.
Life is all about building especially when children are involved. There will be splashes of joy and definitely heartache as far as watching the growth that comes from within, preparing them to realize – change is part of life and your choices are all yours. If you get knocked down, get back up, willing to take a chance in order change your life.
What does a mother do when her daughter calls begging to be bailed out of jail for drug possession for the third time? You know the routine… court costs, rehab, release, a phone call. This time my neighbor told her daughter – “You know I love you, right?” Tearfully she hung up the phone. Later, her daughter told her Mom, it forced her to take the steps she needed to change for a better future.
In the midst of all of this construction, life can, and will, deal some hard knocks. With each painful event, a change occurs that may shape your perception, test your core values, and re-think your dreams. In some cases, you may find a deeper strength you never knew you possessed.
Divine intervention stepped in when I was wrapped in a warm blanket hooked up to a machine that delivered chemo. I was unafraid. Two weeks prior I allowed myself to think the worst and then felt a shift realizing it was all out of my hands. I could not change what is, but could change the way I see. As a result of what I had been through, compassion led me to help other women going through cancer. A different word for change in this case is hope and a belief in being part of a better tomorrow for others.
On the top floor of our building, I have a fantastic, ever-changing view as my husband and I take our next step envisioning a simpler life anxious for the change. My husband is no longer a jet setting pilot but is now thankful he can go to the bathroom in the middle of the night and go back to the warmth of his own bed. The change in the way we walk is slower as we try to keep up with three ever-changing, NOT boring grandsons. With a safe roof over our heads, we find beauty in wisdom that comes with change, I hope.