Ebb & flow:
a recurrent pattern of coming and going or decline and regrowth.
I love change. It excites me, inspires me and nudges me forward. I love its offbeat rhythm and unpredictable patterns. I love its mystery. I love that it isn’t always logistical or sensible and I love that it usually isn’t the most comfortable or effortless path to walk down. When I dream about my future, one of my hopes is that it’s wrapped up in the wildly unexpected and whimsical, never staying the same but rather endlessly awakened and enkindled by new found adventures and changes. The thought of it all stirs me up with hope and simultaneously makes me feel a little sea sick.
I love change, but it scares me.
My twenties so far have seen me through a lot of reshaping, regrowth and life-redesigning. Over the last few years, I’ve lived in 6 homes in 3 different cities, I’ve had enough jobs to count on both my hands, packed and unpacked more times than I could count, squished everything I own into my dad’s car (and unloaded it back out again) and repeated the process a multiplicity of times – ever adjusting and re-adjusting to changing currents that perpetually move and shift me. Amongst my friends and I, we have this unwritten understanding of the rocky and uneven surface we walk on as twenty something year olds. Although each of our stories are eminently different, I find comfort in knowing that change is something that each of us share and see through together.
Standing at the intersection of choice, I find myself forever questioning whether I’m really making the right choices at the right times.
Despite knowing that I’m never in it alone, I wouldn’t be telling the hand-on-heart truth if I said that I haven’t felt lonely or swallowed up with doubt when caught up in the midst of change. Despite being inevitable, it is one of the hardest things we must learn to chew on, digest and truly make sense of.
Lately I’ve been thinking, if I were to pass 17 year old Elle a few notes about navigating change, what would I tell her? What would I write? I’m definitely no expert (and I know that in the days, months and years to come I’ll have a hell of a lot more to add), but for now, here are 5 small things that I would want my younger self to know.
When it’s time to move, grow, go.
When the knots in your stomach begin to form and the ugly-cry struggle becomes all too real (queue emotional T-Swift playlist), remember to give yourself permission, space and time to feel and breathe.
When it’s time to move, grow and go, experience every emotion deeply and let any aches and pains remind you that you’re lucky enough to be leaving or letting go of something that you have loved.
Looking through your rear-view mirror, you’ll see that many of your greatest new-found joys will have been birthed from your biggest changes and most frightening leaps. It won’t always be easy, but joy will surely come.
When you’re caught up in what-if’s
New changes bring new what-if’s, new worries and new doubts. Nevertheless, don’t shy away from great things – get up and go anyway.
I promise you it’ll be worth it.
When the world around you is changing
As you stand at the feet of unanticipated changes that you didn’t feel ready to welcome in, remember that the evolution is part of your process.
Life is going to consist of an ebb and flow – a recurrent pattern of coming and going or decline and regrowth. When it feels as though without invitation the current carries you through rushing waters, don’t be afraid to trust the One who directs the flow and movement.
You were not born to stay the same. As the world evolves and turns, remember that you are moving too, you are growing too, you are changing too. ‘The world is changing around you, and you are changing too’. [MHN]
When you need to know your name
Take integrity and authenticity with you everywhere you go.
Although the anonymity of being in a new and unknown environment is a beautiful opportunity for a fresh start, remain true to who you are in every new place and in every new pattern.
It’s as simple as this, remember your name.
When you need reminding of how far you’ve come
Turning pages and writing new chapters doesn’t mean you need to forget all that preceded you. Hold tight to the lessons you’ve learned, the people you’ve met and the stories you’ll be telling one day.
Look at how far you’ve come – the steep mountains you’ve climbed, the waters you’ve waded through and the thick fog that lead you toward the clearing.
And look, despite it all, you’re still going.