Dig Baton Rouge

East of the River

By Katie East

Benjamin Franklin said, “Nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” In other words, change is a constant. So why are so many of us afraid of change? Why do big life changes loom over us and cause anxiety instead of excitement?

Change is scary because it brings the unknown. Most people choose to remain comfortable and complacent rather than stir the pot and risk being worse off than before. It’s hard to remember that with great risk comes great reward.

Some people spend their entire lives stuck at one job they hate rather than go out and find something new. They might call that job security, but I call it being a prisoner in your own life; no one should spend their years feeling stuck or trapped.

I try to embrace change in my everyday life, but it’s not always easy. I definitely have my “control freak” moments. As a child, I used to hate that my Mom planned every vacation day down to the last second. It took the fun out of it for me. Now, I admittedly make my own spreadsheets when I travel. Yes, I’m becoming my mother.

There’s nothing wrong with planning ahead or making lists. Lists are a great way to stay motivated and on task. How you handle yourself when there’s a change of plans is what’s really important though.

The biggest events in life are usually the ones you want to plan the most. A bridezilla is the perfect example of someone who can’t deal with change. She has a picture of what her wedding is supposed to look like. When that vision differs from reality, she gets pissed.

When one of my best friend’s was getting married, I was shocked at how calm she was the whole day. Not only was she not stressed out, she didn’t even have any nervous energy. She was just content and excited.

Only a few minutes before was going to walk down the aisle, she realized she didn’t have a “something blue” to wear. She had her something old, something new, and something borrowed. Somehow, with all the planning and preparing, no one remembered to bring up something blue.

The moment she realized it, I waited for the freak out moment. Instead, she took a minute, found a light blue sharpie and asked all her bridesmaids to sign the bottom of her shoe. She didn’t panic and turned a mistake into an opportunity. I was very impressed. If I were in that situation I’m sure I’d have a mild panic attack and cry off my expensive makeup job.

Giving birth seems to be another one of those things women try to plan as much as possible. Inevitably, it never seems to go the way intended. The woman who wanted to have a natural birth has to get an emergency c-section. The woman who was adamant she be on drugs gets to the hospital when it’s too late for the epidural. Adapting must be one of the first lessons new mothers learn.

Being flexible is one of the best qualities you can have. How awesome is that one friend you have that will literally eat anywhere or do anything? Usually they have a cool catch phrase like, “I just go with the flow, man.”

Those people always seem to be the happiest people. I realize I basically just described Matthew McConaughey, but anyone can adopt that free-spirited lifestyle. There’s something to be said about people who don’t have many attachments.

I’m not saying everyone should become a drifter and just move aimlessly through life. I do think that everyone would be a lot happier if they just embraced change instead of fighting it. Happiness is a lifestyle choice and welcoming change is the quickest way to make the leap.

Keeping expectations low might be the key to a change-centric utopia. People get disappointed when things don’t go as planned. If spreadsheets and lists are your thing, just make sure to be flexible enough that you won’t freak out when the plan changes.

Just breathe through the moment and accept there’s nothing you can do about it. If you focus on the positives, you might wind up with something even better than you’d hoped for. When in doubt, always remember, WWMMD? What would Matthew McConnaughey do?

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