April ushers in the beginning of spring: Days are longer, nights are milder and those sunny days which we're grateful for, are around the corner. Spring brings changes in our lives, and as I think about the change of seasons, I'm reminded of the change of life 'seasons' many senior adults have undergone.
The whiff of new growth in the morning air is a definitive insight spring's arrived. As one season ends, a new one begins; proof that life is evolving regardless of our awareness to the fact.
A few days ago I visited Joe, an 'old' friend of mine; he's about 35 years my senior. I enjoyed our conversation. From nowhere, Joe changed the subject and exclaimed, 'Change is inevitable, everywhere I look I see change and I have come to be a master of change. Change is what I do best!'
Just a few months ago he made a major change in his life; Joe sold his home of over 40 years and moved to a senior adult community. Once he decided to move, he had a big job to do; how do you fit a three-bedroom, two-bath 2,800-square-foot home into a two-bedroom 1,180-square-foot apartment? How does one know what to give away or what to keep? These were important decisions.
Looking at the whole picture, these external changes were only a fraction of the internal changes present for Joe. When looking back on time, years go by. It seems you wake up one day and all of a sudden you've reached maturity, over night.
When one thinks about times when major decisions had to be made - education, a relationship, career move, getting married, having children, moving - it's easier to reflect on the outcome, rather than the choice itself. What remains is to do or not to do; to make a decision or leave fate in the hands of others. Change means to become, or make different. It requires challenging the status quo. Sometimes it means recognizing that something is no longer right or admitting that something no longer works.
When my friend Joe had to decide whether or not to move, he found himself in fear of the unknown. Questions he pondered were, 'Where will I live? Who will I know? How will I make it? What will it be like and what if I don't like it?' He wavered for a while, but he was ready to make a decision. He started to think about what he might miss if he stayed in his home. To stay possibly meant he could become a prisoner of his choice, while moving could bring about a whole new way of life. It was then he realized he was ready to make his decision. Thus, what brought about his declaration about change. He was ready to experience change to its fullness.
Once his choice was made, a new road was built. Where Joe's road leads has yet to be determined. Even though his process of change hasn't been easy, he's doing his best to enjoy transformation along the way. While I think of my friend, I recall a favorite line from Robert Frost's poem 'The Road Not Taken': 'Two roads diverged in a wood, and, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.'
Sometimes we face a fork that impacts our life circumstances: From changes occurring with friends, family, our environment and even the seasons. Perhaps by welcoming spring we're given an ideal opportunity to reflect and renew goals about facing those roads less traveled.