If there’s one thing that life will teach you pretty quickly, it’s that change happens quite often—and sometimes quite fast.
These changes can occur in your location, in your relationship status, in your friendships, in your family, in your career, and even in your heart. Some of them are planned, and others happen unexpectedly. Some are welcomed, and others feel more like punches to your gut that took you completely by surprise.
When I was going through a really difficult season of life (partly thanks to a fella breaking my heart), one of my sweet friends sent me inspirational quotes and funny memes every so often. She sent me one that I’m sure many of you have seen before that said “When something goes wrong in life, just yell ‘PLOT TWIST!’ and move on.” I love that, because it’s a reminder not to dwell on the tough changes that we face in life but to accept that they are happening and to keep living.
I studied journalism in college and dreamed of being a sports reporter and an eventual anchor on SportsCenter. I grew up admiring Linda Cohn and figured that I would follow in her remarkable sassy footsteps. When I graduated college, I got my first job as a sports reporter, and it wasn’t too long before I realized that it isn’t actually what I wanted to do with my life forever. I spent months trying to deny it—after all, I had big plans for my future—but it became far too apparent that I didn’t actually want to spend the rest of my life working in the media.
One day not too long after I started having those feelings, the president of the small news organization I was working for at the time informed us that we were going out of business, and I realized that my life was about to change more drastically than I had ever imagined. It was a tough change, but it was a change that needed to happen. And I’m forever grateful that it did.
I think that, just like changes in careers that we might not have seen coming, unanticipated changes in the heart are natural, too. Sometimes we want them to happen, and other times we try to resist those changes. I’d like to cue Moana’s “How Far I’ll Go” right now. I would share some of the lyrics here, but I’d have to sell essentially all of my possessions and all of the paychecks for the rest of my existence to Disney first, so I’ll let you consult the Google on your own for that one. But this young woman is experiencing a change in her heart and a desire to find her own identity. It’s a change that needs to happen within her, and she begins to embrace it.
Just like we often need to embrace the changes that happen within us, as well.
You might start off in a career that you later realize is not right for you. You might lose your job. You might find out that you have to move, even after you’ve spent years forming friendships and building community that you love. You might invest deeply in a relationship only to be betrayed or realize that he’s not the person you’re supposed to end up with forever. You might experience so much change all at once in multiple aspects of life and not know what to do. And you might feel a stirring for change in your heart that you need to acknowledge and that you need to let happen.
If you’re not yet ready to yell “PLOT TWIST!” and move on, start by simply telling yourself that change happens, and you are strong enough to face whatever happens as a result. It won’t always be easy, and it’s OK to admit that you’re struggling with it. But don’t dwell in that state—let yourself be bold enough to stand up and turn those changes into new chapters that are integral parts of your story.
Don’t be afraid to let change happen in your life. Sometimes those changes you weren’t expecting end up being the most beautiful journeys that you’ll ever experience.