Love Change

I was sent a letter in 2007, from myself in 2014, written by my brilliant mate, Cath Jenkin. It goes like this:
“Dear Dave from like 2007,
I’d like you to meet my friend, Dave from 2014.
See, Dave, my 2014 friend Dave got shot with a life tumble and rolled with it. He fucking rolled with it so much he made it look like he was ice-skating.
This is why, Dave from 2007, you couldn’t last. I’m sorry about that, but the way you chose to skid rather than glide just wasn’t sustainable. You were fun to watch though, but this 2014 Dave? 2014 Dave is good to be around. His energy is so infectious I can feel it right the fuck up the coastline.
So, sorry 2007 Dave. But don’t worry – 2014 Dave has got this. You hang in there buddy, cause it’s one heck of a ride. Good thing you’ve got 2014 Dave driving, because he’s got this shit taped.”
If you know me at all, you’ll know how change scares the living daylights out of me – and yet – it shouldn’t. Every time I’ve been faced with major, unplanned changes, life has actually gotten far better.
  • 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.

Dear old Me - sit down. New Me has got this...
Dear old Me – sit down. New Me has got this…
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2 thoughts on “Love Change

  1. haha you know every time I realize why we are friends. Behind so much difference we have the same feels about things. I too hate change and most times for the other perspective (as the one staying behind). The only thing I’ve learnt that is yes change is scarey and I still hate it but without it there cannot be growth. Yes, yes so cliché but getting comfortable at sometimes sooner or later gets unfulfilling as I was to learn in 2014.

    No more hating change and in a piece of mine coming up – 2015 will be a radically different year for so many people in my life, including me. I still wonder now if that’s a good or bad thing but I’ve learnt though that life needs to be lived and things happen for a reason. Sometimes that change is just a little forced but without it we probably never would have made the change in the first place!

    Here’s to 2015 and life and going forward on a path that’s different, scratch that a path that’s new and full of adventure. Let’s walk with together with amazing friends and family and together it WILL be great, if not it’ll be fine at least!

    1. I’ve just read your piece on change that you wrote in the beginning of 2014. And I know the brilliant changes you’ve brought about to move forward. Here’s to 2015!

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