When the life menu changes…do we?

Billy Joel sings “Don’t go changing to try and please me….la la la…I want you just the way you are”.  That’s so sweet and accepting to appreciate someone the way they are and to hope for them not to change…but it’s totally unrealistic!  While, I am taking the song a little out of context, the lyrics should maybe be “Don’t change for me, but I know you will change over time so will I…we can try to accept it, or choose to leave…..lalalalalalaaaa”

My version does not flow well, but it’s much more realistic.

Change is growth, compromise, inevitable and then you die

Change can be: stressful, delightful, heartbreaking, life-altering, scary, totally awesome and sometimes totally suck…but you change, or you die. Death is the final change. Inspiring right? Now when it comes to changes, one can argue that change is not always an option, because of circumstance (illness, financial, accountability, social circle), but I call “Bullshit!.

Rude? Perhaps.  Truth? Yes.

What is the common characteristic of most “changes”?  It’s about “choices“.  Choices are personal, human factors…and us humans make them all the time.  When we make a choice to ignore and fight change….that is also a choice.  Mr. Joel is asking “Don’t make the choice to change yourself for me, make the choice to stay as you are for me.”

I love when someone complains, “I can’t help it, I always order the same thing off the menu”. Really? it’s your choice. (Not like the medieval pubs of yesteryear “Welcome to The Horse’s Head milady , today menu is either hot mutton or warm mutton“). If you pick the same thing, don’t complain about it. If picking something new off a menu is scary to some people, how do those people make life choices? or changes?

Thank you, sir! May I have another?

Admitting that much of our circumstance (happy or not) has been a series of choices is the way we can enable change.  Now of course, things happen, people loose jobs, loved one’s, good health, relationships, unpredictable life slaps….but the way we deal with those changes and the choices from that point is up to us. Being prepared for the next job loss by saving money, making healthier choices, spending time with loved one’s and picking positive friendships are all choices…same as the bad habits/behaviors/menu selection…they are our choices.

Isn’t it empowering! Scary as hell, but inspiring nonetheless.  There are people who are content to pick the same thing off the menu each time…enjoy it every time (yeah, mutton again) and never wonder about the other things on the menu. What happens when the restaurant changes the menu and removes that item? “What no mutton?” Options are to beg the kitchen to make it or make a new choice (leave or experiment). Like life, we can go with our usual choices (and sometimes complain) and only change when life forces us.  OR, we can cause the changes we want to experience.

Would you rather walk on hot coals or thumb tacks?

Confronted with a crappy choice thrown in my lap, I chose to change a friendship to help a marriage (not my own). It was difficult, heartbreaking and scary as I had to end the friendship. In a selfish moment, I was going to pick the other…but in hindsight, it was the right choice. The change has inspired me to make other choices too…and the outcome is overall positive. Inspiring in fact. Was I prepared? Not really…but I may be for the next time.  I may even make choices to avoid it from ever happening again. That is empowering.

We can change our circumstance, our health, our financial picture, our social circle and our life experiences. To enable change you have to make different choices. Of course the hard part is to accept responsibility of our choices.  I heard a poem yesterday that inspired this rant… Enjoy.

“There’s A Hole In My Sidewalk: Autobiography In Five Short Chapters” ~ Portia Nelson

Chapter I

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I fall in.
I am lost … I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter II

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter III

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in … it’s a habit … but,
my eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter IV

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter V

I walk down another street.


Andrea Leppert
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