Change happens—predictably or unexpectedly and happily or not. And, each of us handles it differently. Unfortunately, some are so uncomfortable with change that they’d prefer a mundane status quo to the uncertainty of something different. Because they don’t know how things will turn out, they expect the worst. That’s too bad—because change can be incredibly positive!
This year’s graduates are about to experience the greatest decade of change in their lifetime. Some of it will be voluntary and some of it not. Some of it will be clear and some of it will involve highly uncertain outcomes. Some of it will be easy to handle and some will be highly stressful. It’s all part of the journey.
Think about some key changes that may be in store for your grads in the next several years of their life…
· They will choose—and change—their college major/and or career path, maybe several times over! By the way, this is the norm. The anxiety associated with choosing your major /career is considerable—and it gets worse each time.
· They will probably change jobs five to seven times in their lifetime. They’ll be dealing with new employers, new managers, new jobs to learn, new people to work with, and potential relocations and new friends to make.
· They’ll likely move several times, whether for long periods or for short-term assignments. The assimilation involved in each situation is significant.
· They’ll most likely date several different people before perhaps settling down into marriage. Since there is much more at stake than during high school dating, the pressure is that much greater.
· They’ll very likely deal with a death in their family
· They’ll buy their first house
· They may be even blessed with children (which, in terms of “change,” will make many of the above seem like pocket change by comparison!)
You can use this list to help open up a conversation with them about what may lie ahead. Share your stories about how you faced these or similar changes. Change doesn’t seem as intimidating when you know someone else has navigated it successfully.
Since life is so unexpected, it’s wise to view change as a constant and become as adaptable as possible. That goes for all of us, no matter what season of life we’re in!
In the end, we all have a choice how to respond to change. We can either withdraw in fear or we can embrace it as an opportunity for growth, adventure, and preparation for even bigger things down the road. Sure, change will be unsettling at times, especially when it involves relocation and “starting from scratch.” However, there are countless examples of people who have endured enormous upheavals that proved transformational and purposeful. So, encourage the young people in your life to be confident and courageous—and take it to heart yourself. Take change by the reins and make the most of it!
How do you react to change? Do you view it as a time of fear or as an opportunity to shine and learn? Why? Share your experiences and insights with us by commenting below; we’d love to hear from you!