- There were the redundancies in ’99 – I applied for and got a better job at a higher level.
- There was sudden relocation to London, for work – I learned how to live on my own. In London. That’s pretty decent!
- There was the company closure and being forced to leave the UK – I ended up working in a great new job and redefining my space and my career and my passion, back in Jozi.
- There was losing my job, my money and all my possessions as I hit rock-bottom after 18 years of addiction – and I found, instead, a way to heal and talk about healing – and as a result, stepped into a dream job in Stellenbosch, when I thought my career was over.
- There was the realisation that I had been raped when I was 21 – I learned what forgiveness is, and how to talk about being a rape survivor – and I went on to talk at Rhodes University, the first man invited to share at the Silent Protest Against Sexual Violence.
- Then there was the company downsizing – and because I have never believed in burning my bridges, through my network of former colleagues and bosses, I stepped into a new job less than 24 hours after taking a severance package.
It was this seamless changeover, and the eventual calm* I handled it with that prompted Cath to write the letter to the old me, from the new me.
If I look at the list above – everything on the left – all the change that happened – was steeped in fear and anxiety and panic. And what resulted – everything on the right in italics means I never had to fear a thing. And yet we do – change represents a threat. I understand this – because losing a job does not guarantee you another. Losing a parent – well, how does life get better after that? (It does you know, when that parent was suffering with a terminal illness – they are no longer in pain, and in time, you will feel the relief for them, and have only good memories…)
The reality is that not all change is good change – let’s agree to that. But the fact is that I feared ALL change. And that turned my life into a living hell – because in not ONE instance above, did I have any measure of control of the wider situation – there was nothing I could do to prevent the change from happening. No – not even the addiction and its drama – because it was addiction and not merely a habit. Addiction is a loss of control. You’ll do well to remember that.
That fear of change is crippling. It reduced me to a quivering mess more often than not, and – more often than not – there was no need to. Life goes on. Sometimes on a different path. Sometimes on the same path, just differently. But it’s all good because it’s ALL growth and life lessons. Even the painful ones. Especially the painful ones.
I’m not one for new year’s resolutions, but going forward, I resolve to do more of that ‘not fearing’ thing that Cath wrote about in her letter to me, from me. I’ll meet change head-on, and face it. There may be fear and uncertainty – but I will deal with it. Because it all works out, in the end.
*I confess to having major panic the day before the restructure – because I am human, after all!
© Dave Luis 2014. All Rights Reserved.