I’ve experienced more change in the last four years than most will in their entire lives. And if you’re anything like my 12-year-old daughter, big life changes can signal an anxiety attack. A creature of habit, she enjoys predictability and order and needs substantial lead-time to adjust to whatever curveball is coming her way.
That’s not to say I don’t relate. I used to find comfort in the well-rehearsed steps of the dance I knew all too well. But then, four years ago, the soundtrack of my life, the music I danced in the kitchen to each day - it changed. The waltz that had become the background music to my days abruptly stopped and was replaced with what felt like an epically choreographed hip hop number designed for Britney Spears. My steps were clumsy, lacked grace and poise, and it took me a bit of time to find my footing.
But then, over time, I grew more confident, more self-assured. Were the steps exact? Of course not. Was there a TikTok tutorial I could follow, someone to mentor and critique me? If there was, no one bothered to show it to me. Did I have an adept partner to lead me, as I stumbled and fumbled my way through each new move? Nope. So I did my best to keep time, find the rhythm, and make the dance my own.
And I did. The movements started to flow more naturally, and I felt a certain ease as I navigated the dance floor alone, now as a single mother.
But life’s a bitch of a DJ, and just as I hit my stride, a quick transition brought on a new tune and I found myself struggling to learn the steps once again. This time was different though. The learning curve I had previously experienced had prepared me, ever-so-slightly, to pivot into this new dance a bit more smoothly. It didn’t take me as long to learn my way across the floor. My ears were more open to the cheers and encouragement from the spectators watching. I blocked out the negative jeers and focused on my path.
Life isn't an old record player, fixed on repeat. It's an iPod Shuffle - mixing up the tracks as soon as you think you've found your groove. And while it can be comforting to hear the same lyrics and notes over and over again, can you imagine how boring and tiring life would be if we were stuck on that loop? The passion we once had for the song might die out. Our steps would grow routine and over the years, lack the vigor they once had, becoming more of a shuffle we’ve grown accustomed to performing, requiring little effort on our part. We’d grow too comfortable.
The real beauty, the growth, comes when the forces of the universe synthesize the hell out of our life and serve up an unexpected melody meant to jolt us into a new rhythm. It might take you a while to gain confidence and be at ease with the change, and that’s ok. But eventually, you’ll find the harmony, your steps will fall in sync, and you’ll gracefully trace your way through the song of your life. So if you’re in the middle of a track change, give yourself a bit of grace. The transition might not be as smooth as you’d hoped, but the final number will still be pretty spectacular.