It’s funny how things happen in our lives at the exact time we need them to happen, even if it takes us years to realize it. Just over four years ago, I was standing in the middle of my great Uncle’s cottage and I noticed a small piece of metal on an old fireplace. Imprinted on the metal was the Serenity Prayer:
“God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.”
To be honest, I’ve never been one for religion and yet here was this prayer starring back at me. It came at a point in my life when I had a lot going on. September 2013 was a crazy time for me; jobs, my broken back, relationships ending/beginning, and (looking back) there were still many trials and tribulations still to come.
Through all of it, the Serenity Prayer has stayed by my side – quite literally. My non-religious self rises each morning and looks at the prayer hanging beside my bathroom mirror. I read it aloud to myself as I’m getting ready to take on the day. It gives me comfort and strength as the only thing consistent in our lives is change.
The only thing consistent in our lives is change.
Over the years I’ve decided (in my non-professionally trained opinion) that there are two types of people: those who accept change well and those who don’t. Some people fear change; they fight against it with every bone in the body until it comes crashing down on them (sometimes in the form of health problems). Or they avoid change until change is forced upon them (like job changes). Regardless of if you accept it or fight it, change is guaranteed to happen.
“To accept the things I cannot change…”
There’s a lot we can’t change in our lives. We don’t control every last aspect of our lives (even if that would be nice sometimes). Often, we can’t change peoples minds; we most definitely cannot force people to make decisions they aren’t ready for, and then there are the unexpected changes that bump into us and kick us along the way. But in the end? Change happens. I choose to accept the things I cannot change – even if I don’t agree with them or understand them.
“Courage to change the things I can…”
What we CAN change are things that are under our direct control. One of the biggest changes I have focused on is me. I’ve changed my outlook on life. I’ve changed my routines, my friendships, my hobbies – many things that have made me who I am today. Sometimes it does take courage; it took a lot of courage to leave some jobs that I loved but were detrimental to my health. It took courage to leave my hometown and embark on new adventures. And, of course, there’s been a lot of courage required in relationships as well. The greatest moment is when you get through the rough patch and have been courageous, then you can look back and appreciate how far you’ve come.
“And wisdom to know the difference.”
Life has a funny way of working out. Some of us learn the easy way, some of us learn the hard way. Some of us are destined for lives of luxury and others of hardship. Life is a roller coaster for everyone in completely different ways. That’s life. We have the power to change things (like our attitude) and yet, sometimes, we have zero power to change things (like circumstances). Yet, each day is a step in a new direction. We really just get to choose what direction that will be. If it’s the wrong one? The universe lets us know eventually.
I’m a willing acceptor of change. Change has been easy, change has been hard – but each time the change has been for the better. People have left my life, only to come back in stronger than ever. Jobs have been left or dissipated or whatever, only for me to realize that the next step was the best one yet. We all make choices – even if your choice is “no choice” it’s a choice in the end. If change is meant to happen, it will happen and whether you accept or resist change, you’ll be shoved onto the roller coaster of life.
So make a choice – will you find the serenity in change or let it punch you in the face? It’s an interesting fork in the road, that’s for sure.