CHANGE IS HARD
By: Lauren Anderson
Last Wednesday at the gym, I got lost in thought during a particularly grueling 50-calorie-row portion of the Met Con. (Met Con is short for metabolic conditioning. Or as I like to call it, the “exercise-y part. Not the weight-lifty part.”)
I know it doesn’t seem like much, but in order to burn one calorie on those machines, the average gym goer (aka ME) has to row approximately 3 times. For ONE calorie. I was strapped into the rower for upwards of 4 minutes. Turns out you can do a lot of thinking during four minutes of repetitive movement.
My first thought was WOW. This is tough. Being away from the gym a little more these past few months has not helped anything either. I think back to when I know a 50 calorie row would’ve been the END of me.
Then I think back to the time when I was averaging gym time 3-4 times a week. How simple the rowing machine seemed during that period! And I reflect on the difference in the two.
Then I think, man, that’s a lot of changing. And it’s all been hard. But worth it. It was hard to get myself to join a gym in the first place. Then it was hard to make the changes it took to commit myself fully to this new journey. Then it was hard to have to adjust those new changes to afford my suddenly busier lifestyle. It has been really hard to see my body change from not-fit-at-all, to more-fit, to less-fit-than-before-but-not-all-the-way-back-to-the-beginning-thank-god.
When it wasn’t physically hard, the mental changes I’ve gone through in the past year have been harder. Slowly learning a new way to do and go about, well, everything.
Then slowly changing my habits and my language until I started living a way that felt truly good!
Then teaching the people around me how they can best support me, and defending things they might not be willing to accept right away. (What do you mean you’re off bread but not potatoes? Who cares what kind of oil I used! I hope you don’t get too strong, you won’t look like a girl anymore!)
And even though all this difficult change has been for the good, it was still hard.
But hard isn’t always a bad thing, right?
Like, it’s hard to get a college degree…but it’s worth it right? It’s hard to be a parent to a child, but you’re raising a HUMAN BEING, after all. It’s hard to devote yourself to a cause, to an art form, to a class, to a relationship… but we still do it right? Cause hard isn’t always bad. Sometimes the hard stuff is the only stuff that’s really worthwhile.
I think because the stuff that’s important will always grow me. Whether I want it to or not. And when I grow, I have to change. Sometimes I do the growing first then make the change. (Like becoming so good at your job, you quit to get a better, more challenging one.) Sometimes the change happens, and then I am forced to grow. (Like getting laid off from your job, and being forced to find a newer, better job.) No matter which way I come to it. I am changing and growing, and even if it’s for the best… It’s still HARD.
At least, it’s hard for a person like me. I know there are people who might be reading this that can totally relate to what I’m saying. Then there are others who might be like, “What? I love CHANGE! I thrive on it!” To those rare birds, I must say, I envy you. To be so into change, that you can only see the adventure and not the difficulty is a real gift, in my opinion. Which is not to say I’m not adventurous, but I can always appreciate the sacrifice it will take. (Part of my charm I guess? UGH.)
And it’s weird too because I am an improvisor! We are taught to embrace change all the damn time, otherwise the scene will suffer. Everything is a gift! Relish the unknown! And I can do it on stage NO PROBLEM. But in real life? Forget it. Accepting change is one of the hardest things for me. Always has been.
It reminds me of a quote that I scrolled past during one of my many Pinterest Bathroom Time Wasting sessions. It was in black and white, and the text was written over a still shot of Leonardo DiCaprio’s face from the movie “Revenant”. I’m not sure if it’s a quote from the movie, or the Pinner was just taking er, “artistic license”, but it worked. Cause I stopped. It said:
“You can either suffer the pain of discipline, or the pain of regret. It’s your choice.”
Hardcore right? I was like, “Whoa, cool it Leo. That’s way too intense for Bathroom Pinterest.” But the quote has really stuck with me. It’s like saying, every choice you make will effect you. And with every choice, there is some pain. Even the good stuff. Like, choose to get married? Then you might feel the pain of the loss of your single self. Choose to be single? Then there might be pain in going through the world on your own. Choose nothing? Then there might be pain in watching others pass you, or time slipping past you, or you may find yourself knee deep in FOMO. The list goes on and on and on…
My mind is racing. Then, I open my eyes. I am back on the rower again, finally having reached 50 calories. It’s about damn time! I was in a real change-hard-pain-choice spiral there.
I feel accomplished at the workout, and still somehow REALLY in my head today. Change is hard. And there will always be some pain. Even if the change is for the best. These feelings are complex.
And even though they may sound bleak as I write them down, I know it’s not. It’s life right? It’s that beautifully, painfully, poetic part about life that no one ever really talks about, but I’m positive we all feel to some degree. And oddly, I often experience these feelings in a microcosm when I’m at the gym.
After my workout ends, I drive home, take a quick shower, and pack up my dinner before I head out immediately again. And on the way to work, my car dies. Less than 10 city blocks from the theatre where I was about to do a show, my car just slowly comes to a stop. It just won’t drive forward anymore…
And change is thrust upon me yet again. And it is hard.
Luckily, I have AAA and the car is towed away to the shop within the hour, and the driver drops me off at work in plenty of time. The next day, I get the call I’ve been dreading for some time now.
“Your transmission is shot. We can replace it, but with parts and labor that’ll be around 1,400 bucks.”
My heart sinks. My car. My little 2003 Dodge Neon, that I’ve been driving for 13 years, has finally turned onto the highway in the sky. It was the first car I ever bought on my own. The best purchase I ever made. It had been through so much with me. Accidents, storms, break ups, hook ups, trips around the lake, friendship’s were made in that car. And now it’s gone. Just like that.
I thank the guy and hang up. And I start to cry.
I know it’s just a car. A car without any bells and whistles and plenty of dents and cracks. It couldn’t even get up past 60 anymore. I knew it was on it’s last legs. Those closer to me, had begun to slowly prepare me for what was bound to happen, but I wouldn’t listen. They know that I have a tendency to anthropomorphize things that I own. But I also know that a car, like a house, like a park bench can carry a lot of memories. And even if it doesn’t have feelings, I still do. I still have a lot of feelings.
A few days later, my Dad helped me clean out my old car, and we said goodbye. And I watched as my car was hauled away. And yes, I cried again.
Then we went and bought a new one. Well, “new to me” at any rate. And I really like my new car. This really was for the best. And even though it’s exciting getting a new ride, I am not quite as excited as others might want me to be. Not yet anyway. I guess I’m still processing/mourning the loss of my old one. Lots of people may think it’s weird, but that’s just the way I am I guess. I take the time that I take. Slow-to-go, but I always get there.
I know that I will come around eventually.
Even though this change was for the best. This change was inevitable. It’s still hard. There still is some pain that comes with the change. Just like my journey has been with my body.
The old me was breaking down. It wasn’t working anymore. And although there are parts of my old life-style that I am glad I experienced, I know it’s no longer me. But I can’t deny that I had to go through all of it to get to where I am today.
All the change. All the hard stuff. And even some pain. And I even know there is still more ahead.
But I’m not afraid of this hard stuff. Because this feels important.
Important enough to drive my new car back to the gym tomorrow.