“Give it a month; things will change. Give it a year, you will,” I tweeted wisely, like a well-journeyed wizard, in November of 2010 after seeing the ghost of a bad break-up at a party and realizing with grand internal celebration that I didn’t need to run to the nearest small space with a door to cry at the sight of them. It had been a year and I decided in that moment, as I put more effort into 140-characters-or-less than I did most of my papers, that I was different. I was cured of my impatience. I was smarter. More adaptable. Better. And hell, maybe I was. But that was five years ago (five. Literally, five. It’s fine. I’m fine.) and I’m still remembering that change takes time, effort, and a lot of courage. I’m still learning what I thought I had conquered.
Even when we get the point of enlightenment where we understand and accept that change requires effort and patience, it’s still hard to actually put the work into it. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve cut my hair short, and then decided two months later, “Okay, I’m ready to grow my hair long now.” I say “grow” but what I mean, each time, is that I’m ready to have long hair now, which is to say that even when it comes to something as auxiliary as a haircut, I long for the impact of the change rather than putting the time and brainpower into making it happen.
Change is hard. Even when you want it to happen. Even when you tell all of your friends you’re ready for it. Even, if not especially, when you’re expecting it. Because even if change is the only constant we can count on in life, it never seems to happen the way we picture it will. And it almost always requires more energy than we expect. So in honor of these things we’re learning and re-learning as human beings on a journey of growth and discovery, here are 20 facts to get you excited, or at least, comfortable with the changes in your life presently and to come.
1. “There is nothing permanent except change.” – Heraclitus
2. “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” – Leo Tolstoy
3. “If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.” – Gail Sheehy
4. “Will today be the day you start living the life you always dreamed of? Will today be the day you start living your life to the fullest? Will today be the day you finally realize you deserve it? I hope today is the day your life will change. The day you start living the life you had always wished you had the courage to live.” – Unknown
5. “Change before you have to.” – Jack Welch
6. “Your hope lies in accepting your life as it now lies before you, forever changed. If you can do that, the peace you seek will follow.” – Jennifer Niven
7. “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” – Winston Churchill
8. “The main dangers in this life are the people who want to change everything… or nothing.” – Nancy Astor
9. “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” – Rob Siltanen
10. “You were born with the power to change others. You change people by the way you treat them. That is what changes the human heart.” – Patricia Polacco
11. “They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” – Andy Warhol
12. “To create more positive results in your life, replace ‘if only’ with ‘next time.’” – Unknown
13. “All great changes are preceded by chaos.” – Deepak Chopra
14. “I have noticed even people who claim everything is predestined, and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road.” – Stephen Hawking
15. “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” – Milton Berle
16. “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” – Rumi
17. “We can’t be afraid of change. You may feel very secure in the pond that you are in, but if you never venture out of it, you will never know that there is such a thing as an ocean, a sea. Holding onto something that is good for you now, may be the very reason why you don’t have something better.” – C. JoyBell C.
18. “There is no growth without change. You’ve got to let go of some old stuff. and that can hurt. Often when I’m in the most pain, I realize it’s coming from my trying to control everything. or resisting the changes that come with the progress. But you see that light… that beautiful next level… and that’s what you have to focus on.” – Ali Brown
19. “Without remaining open to change, we cannot remain open to life.” – Ram Dass
20. “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” – Charles Darwin