I stood there swaying incoherently, blood pouring all over the cream carpet. My head was pounding and all I could think, in more ways than one, was ‘what have I done’?
We had just moved the family to Tokyo from our beautiful little village in England for our first experience of ex-pat life. For us, this was a BIG change, and in that moment, change sucked.
It was the middle of the night a month in and I had just leapt out of bed for the third time that night to settle the kids who were getting used to a whole new world and missing Daddy who was away on business. Feeling deliriously tired I had somehow done a very fast, half asleep, head first speed stagger into a wall that I thought was an open door.
My thought process went something like this…
Blood. Lots of blood. Crap. Can’t see properly. I think I’ve broken my nose. Crap. Is it worse than that? I can’t see straight. Daughters still crying. Tom? Where’s Tom? Not here. Who else do I know? No-one. Crap. Sh*t!!!! The cream carpet!! Right. Just calm down woman. Focus. Get a tissue.
So, half a box of bloody tissues later, kids re-settled, I slumped down on the stained carpet and had a very forlorn little cry.
Of course, in the middle of the night, everything seems a lot worse than it actually is. In the heat of those little life fails that seem to confirm all our fears, change can seem like the worst thing ever.
It took a few months, but the children settled in, we all began to get the hang of things and the fears began to subside.
Fast forward two years as we prepare to return to England and I can now say wholeheartedly that personal change is something to be embraced. Why?
We become more adaptable and flexible. We open our eyes to new perspectives, ideas and ways of approaching things. We find a new lease of life and energy. We become more adventurous. We realise we can be braver and more resilient than we thought. Ultimately, we grow.
It doesn’t have to be moving to another country, it could be starting something new, changing a habit, re-evaluating a relationship or shaking up our lifestyle. Whatever it is, big or small, it is through the process of change that we learn the most.
Yet, our brains are hard-wired through evolution to keep us in our comfort zone and when change shows up, so do all our fears. So, what can we do?
Well I’ve made a pact with myself to try and recognise when those fears are kicking in. I will try to resist the temptation to retreat to the warmth of my comfort zone and try asking myself some new questions. What good things may come from this? What will I gain? How will I grow?