If you’re thinking of taking the plunge with something new but are worried about the sacrifices it may require in the interim, I like to remember that the initial shock or discomfort that often accompanies change won’t last forever. There are times in my life when I have had a very near-sighted view of the future, thinking to myself “well, if I do this, it means I have to sacrifice that, and I’m not sure I can let go of A in order to get to B“. One example has been my medical school journey where I have had worries in the past about what it would mean for my husband and children if I go to medical school. It would possibly mean a relocation, so goodbye to our house in the suburbs, goodbye to friends and family, goodbye church, goodbye former career, goodbye routine and goodbye to my comfort zone. More importantly, it would be goodbye to the only life my young children have ever known.
Then I remind myself that a relocation is not the end of the road. If this medical school journey does lead us somewhere new, then what an adventure! Yes, it may feel like starting over or that we are regressing (since a downsizing of our lifestyle would likely be required). It may remind us of those early days of our marriage before kids when we were crammed in a small apartment. But this won’t last forever and ultimately the aim is to enjoy the journey despite the temporary setbacks in lifestyle. I may worry how my kids will adjust to a new setting but kids are very adaptable and a new environment can add to the breadth of their experiences and help them grow in character, even if they stumble to find their way in a new milieu. I truly believe that so long as they are in a loving, secure home, they will turn out just fine!
Coming to Canada from Kenya at the tender age of 20 without my family was initially a big culture shock. I remember buying winter boots and other paraphernalia a month after I arrived in August, anxiously anticipating my first winter and having no clue what to expect other than extreme cold. Freezing rain? Black ice? Winter tires? Tobogganing? These were such strange concepts to an African girl like me. Now, years later, I can whip on my winter garments and those of my young kids in record time without batting an eyelid, and a weather forecast of 40cms of snow no longer terrifies me. My point is that we are capable of adapting and that initial discomforts or fears don’t last forever. Sometimes we need to adjust our eyes beyond the near-sighted focus and look at the big picture. There may be some uncomfortable changes required, some stepping outside of the comfort zone but ultimately, new experiences allow us to grow and add exciting chapters to our book of life.