Before a great adventure it is only natural to feel a little apprehension.
Today something more than apprehension hit me. I realized in a few weeks, everything in my life will change. Normally people experience changes a little at a time. But this is a change that will affect every single thing in my life.
Where I wake up every morning will change.
Where I go to work and what I will do there will change.
The climate and therefore the way I dress will change.
My grocery budget and property taxes will change.
The way I commute will change.
The surrounding culture will change.
The locally available foods and therefore my diet will change.
My doctors and mail deliverers and hardware store employees and street names and weather patterns and things I need to worry about my dog eating on nature walks will change.
As I thought about it, only one thing will remain the same: the partner I take with me. But even he will change. One of our main reasons for relocating to Oregon is his health. If all goes well, he will change too. He will breathe better and have more energy and be able to do more things.
Most of the changes I see coming are not bad or dangerous. Why on earth am I suddenly stricken with fear?!
I never realized it until today, but I think the main reason people fear change is because it makes us vulnerable. Even when a change brings about an improvement, it is unfamiliar territory. Unfamiliar territory is terrifying because we don’t know what to expect. We become creatures of habit because we find comfort in what we know, so we never cross to the other shore. Even if something better is out there, we’re not sure it’s better. It’s not something we’ve experienced, and to venture out would make us vulnerable to things we do not yet know to be cautious about.
No matter how good change can be, it always carries an element of fear because it harbors the unknown. The world of “what ifs” is paved with a long a winding road that never has an end. I have played that “what if” game many times:
What if a motorcycle gang forces us off the road somewhere in Arizona, takes all of our stuff, shoots the dogs, makes a hat out of the cat, gang rapes us and leaves us to die in the dessert?
What if all of our estimates were wrong and we can’t afford to live in Oregon with the jobs we’ve found and we end up living under a bridge until we succumb to consumption and our beloved pets roam the street unloved and hungry until a wild animal eats them?
What if all of the neighbors shun us the minute they find out we’re from Texas and we never make a single friend and when a river swells and floods our house or a mysterious fire burns it down, they laugh at us and tell us to go home?
The minute these thoughts travel from my mind to the page I see how ridiculous they are. But until I express them and see how humorously dreadful they are, they circle around in my brain as if they could become our reality.
Ah change, the only constant in life and only thing we find impossible not to fear. I am greeting each day with a reception of excitement and terror. Because everything in my life is about to change and all I can do is take a deep breath, and open myself up to it.