What You Can Change When You Can’t Change Change

A joke went around social media recently about how the temperature went from 90 to 55 like it saw a state trooper.

It made me laugh, back when if still felt like late summer. A week into running the heater daily and noticing the sun set earlier and earlier, I’m no longer chuckling.

Autumn. Not a huge fan.

Fall colors? Yeah, they’re nice.

That magical feeling when you can go outside without being suffocated by stifling, humid air or being bundled up as if en route to the South Pole? Love all 15 minutes of it.

The inevitable weeks and weeks of darkness and cold? Nope.

I accept that change is inevitable, but I doubt that I’ll ever celebrate the cold and darkness of fall and winter.

No matter how much I whine, though, there hasn’t been a single instance where my complaining stopped the darkness from getting longer until that glorious day in late December or the temperature from being miserably cold until February, March, sometimes April.

When I can’t change a change, I can still change the way I navigate it.

Not by trying to pretend away the things I don’t love about fall. No fake delight over driving in the dark at 4:00 p.m. or joy at being cold no matter how many layers I wear.

Not by moving closer to the equator. The things I love about where I live still outweigh my disdain for darkness and cold.

Not by stopping complaining, because, well, people might not realize it’s me.

So what can I do in the face of inevitable change?

I can remind myself of something I invite you to consider whenever you face an inevitable change that feels even a tiny bit off-putting or icky or downright scary.

You have more control than you think you do over at least two aspects of change: how you navigate it and how you experience its outcome.

Careers shift.

Opportunities arise.

Jobs disappear.

Cars break down. Kids get sick. Relationships flourish and sometimes wither.

We grow, hopefully throughout our lives. We age and we die.

They say you can’t change the weather. I’d add that you can’t change the inevitability of change, either.

You can change how you navigate change and how you experience the results of change.

Begin with these questions:

What change feels inevitable to you? What feels impossible?

How can you navigate if differently? How can you respond differently to the results?

As for me, since I can’t stop the change toward more darkness and cold, I’m going to put on some cozy sweats and go outside this evening when it gets dark (way too early).

To watch the moon rise and delight in the stars.

image: Hamish Weir; unsplash; used with permission

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