My boys both started school last month, one of them for the first time. While there was a wee bit of clinging and a few tears, their transition from summer in the country to school in the city has been an amazingly calm one. My 2-year-old couldn't wait to start "my tool" and ran off into his classroom on Day One without a backward glance! For the most part, my kids handle change with aplomb and excitement. We do a little prep if there's a big change coming, but don't make a huge deal out of it, and I'm very thankful that works for us. Most kids are remarkably adaptable, and learn to accept things, especially those completely outside their control.
My handling of the "summer in the country to school in the city" transition wasn't nearly so easy. I loved the slower pace this summer, my rediscovered ability to truly relax, and getting in touch with the earth in a way I can't in the city. I started balking about returning a good three weeks before we had to leave, dragged my feet and fretted, and am only now settling back in. The difference? I had a longer-range view than my kids, some control over the situation, and a desire to make dramatic changes in my life without the ability to put them into motion quite yet. Desire, lacking ability, will find another outlet for it's energies. I put mine into fussing, instead of taking the small steps in front of me. I was afraid. Afraid of settling back into old habits and patterns, and losing the strength of my desire. That fear was enough to turn me inside out for awhile.
There are two kinds of change of course, the unexpected and the expected. In each case there are also two flavors, the welcome and the unwelcome varieties. With an unexpected change, we have no time to fuss, fret, or fear before the event is upon us. It hits our lives, completely outside our control, and we react. Some lead off with an emotional response, others with pragmatism, but either way we begin to process the change. We're forced to fit it into our reality, at least temporarily, and make it work if we can. The more welcome the change, the easier it is to accept. The more unwelcome it is, the faster we start planning our own changes in response to it.
That leads us to expected or planned changes, where management comes into play. If I see something on the horizon, like my move back to the city, I have a choice in how I handle it. I can accept it and plan for it (managing the change), or I can balk out of fear. If you don't like change, I guarantee you've got a fear attached to that feeling somewhere. Fear that sucks the life out of your desire and ability to move forward, and mires you in the land of the status quo. Sure, the status quo can be exactly what's needed, but if you see a good path but are afraid to go forwards? Find and name the fear, which will cut off it's power and control over your desire, enabling you to gracefully and even gleefully move ahead. Change can be devastating or empowering, depending on the degree to which we accept and manage it!