Finding comfort in change

Sharing a personal writing from the last week

Hey there. These are my weekly musings on life, career, and writing.

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Thinking Loud

This week, I’m sharing a personal essay I wrote over the last week for my site.

You don’t become comfortable with change on purpose.

I was recently riding up the elevator of my apartment after running a load of laundry. I was thinking about work. It wasn’t all that long ago where I was so uncomfortable in the elevator that I couldn’t even think about anything else but my discomfort. It doesn’t feel all that long ago that I pulled up to this crappy complex, all of my belongings packed in my car, wondering what I did to end up here. I cried that night.

And before the uncomfortable elevator rides in Colorado, there was the first night I slept in my newly purchased home in Michigan. I had just turned 21 and already signed away my life to a mortgage. That night, I stood in my unfurnished basement and chatted with a couple of friends. It all felt surreal and weird. I was bubbling with achievement but knew things would be different from then on.

I slept on my floor for the first time that night. God, it all felt so different from before.

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Before the house, there was the apartment. I presented a formal budget to prove to my Dad that I was capable of moving out into my first apartment. He trusted my plan. I was 18 and my high-school sweetheart and I had our whole life figured out We did not have our life figured out. Not one bit.

I flew away from my parents’ nest into an arena of responsibility.

The discomfort of leaving my parents’ house for the apartment was almost as uncomfortable as the moment of my plan blew up at that apartment and being left to pay rent for two. Secondary to my inability to afford groceries and being too proud to ask anyone for help. 

Before that, I said goodbye to the home I spent years in. And before that? I moved across the country, away from my best friends to somewhere new. Before that? I moved away from my childhood home to a new school district. A whole lot of moving, a whole lot of change.

It hasn’t gotten easier over time. Every single time something big changes, it sucks. 

Change can be abrupt and ugly. A new home, the end of a relationship, or even saying goodbye to friends and loved ones. Sometimes these moments are scary, sometimes they hurt, sometimes you’re left confused, frustrated, or just lost. For me, some are fresh and still on my mind.

And if you’re like me, you might find yourself constantly ruminating on how you got here. You might start stepping back through each moment that led you to your current situation. You begin to wonder what the alternative is and perhaps dream about familiarity.

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I was forced to change households at a young age. It was then that my mom taught me the difference between “goodbye” and “so long”. Goodbye has an implied level of permanence, whereas “so long” is much more temporary and preferred. That was a hard change to think about in that long car ride.

How much time I have spent thinking about those moments. But again, that’s normal. The self-help books always seem to suggest that adversity hardens us. By having survived the sharp edges of life we'll be rewarded for being rugged. I just can’t subscribe to that notion.

Instead, we should learn to appreciate and recognize our discomfort with change. Even the dark moments I described earlier feel inconsequential now. Like most other things in life, change is fleeting. 

Comfort comes from an appreciation for change. In the moment, change is not always comfortable. I told you: change has the propensity to leave you hurt, confused, and frustrated. 

But one day, out of nowhere, I realized I wasn’t thinking about living alone in a new city. And one day, I stopped thinking about my fear of homeownership. One day, I no longer felt uncomfortable leaving my parents to live with my (then) girlfriend. I don’t think about the house in Caledonia, and even Byron Center feels like long ago now. The custody battle, leaving New Jersey, and saying goodbye to my best friends just aren’t top of mind any more. 

Those moments sucked but they’re largely behind me now. 

That alone serves as a reminder for me to keep moving on. Better days are worth the sleepless nights that preceded. There’s change ahead of all of us. Some change is good. Some change is bad. But all things are guaranteed to eventually become different.

Should you be experiencing change, please consider this: You will think about change a lot.

Until one day, you don’t.

Weekend Adventures

This weekend I had a friend in town, so I did not spend much time doing much but entertaining. I spent some time in Denver, Boulder, and Golden.

Pictured below is Gross Reservoir in Boulder. It could not have been more perfect. An overcast sky paired with the beautiful sound of water hitting the shore.


Building Writer’s Bloc

We had our first speaker to the group and it was awesome. Went better than I could have ever expected. We’re brewing up some cool stuff, too.

Robbie Crabtree: a trial lawyer, performative speaking coach, and writer spoke to the group on how to story-tell with emotion and in a non-linear capacity. Shout out to Prado (below) who woke up at 5am to join everyone for this call.

It has been awesome to see this evolve over the last few months and to hear all of the kind words from many of those below (and more who could not make it). I have been thinking a lot lately about education and the best way to learn and every week I become increasingly more confident that it is done through conversation.

Cullin