Dare to Change

June 14, 2011 — Leave a comment

There’s always something to change. Words Max Gonzalez, owner of Catalina’s, my favourite coffee house in Houston if not the world, said in an interview for Fresh Cup, the magazine for speciality coffee and tea.

Max’s story was the basis of a blog in December 2010 that I wrote on The Dream Act, and reading the article in Fresh Cup brought up fresh thoughts. Coffee does that to me.

Change. Why do some people resist it and others embrace it, yearn for it even?

To me change comes from curiosity which can lead to adventures, and they come in all shapes and sizes: a child walking to school alone for the first time, the first sleepover, college, first job, first time abroad, fifth relocation and so on. They are all adventures born of curiosity, tinged with a little angst and a dash of hope, and in my case lots of coffee.

But along with the hopesters on the global trail are the resisters; negativity emanating off them in whorls with each tread, with each word, and they are the people to steer clear of. They are the ones whose previous posting was the best place in the world, even though it had been considered hell whilst there. I call them the penny people as opposed to the pound people. Hoarding each little change until there are lots of pennies, but which in their minds never make a pound.

Change can be hard to embrace sometimes and that’s okay. But change is part of our lives and if you spend your life hoarding each change, each resentment, the bank will eventually foreclose on the negative equity. It’s okay to be wary of change, but be open to it and welcome the opportunities.

Won’t it be fun sweetiepie, meeting new friends? My mother said as we slid along the pavement to a new school on a dank, slippery-leaved autumnal morning in deepest Somerset.

How do you know they’ll be my friends? I asked, hitching up woollen tights, alien to a little girl used to wearing a cotton dress and sandals and playing under the African sun.

Well don’t you think it’s better to think everyone you meet will be a friend? She countered. My mother handled each change, each relocation in her life, and there were many, as a treasure trove of possibilities and her philosophy was inured in me.

There isn’t an expat alive who hasn’t had no-to-change days. Days of ‘what the hell am I doing here?’ And if you are an accompanying spouse and haven’t heard the term STARS (Spouses Travelling and Relocating Successfully) you can add the questions, ‘what happened to my life?’ and ‘why did I agree to this?’

There are many viable reasons to resist a relocation – change for change sake is not always sensible when careers are progressing, when children are settled, when life is going smoothly. But don’t you think sometimes that’s the best time, before life becomes so comfortable and secure the edge is taken off, before the nerve to change goes?

And it does take nerve to face that hovering question mark? But if you take on the challenge, embrace the change, be open to adventures and curious about your new surroundings you will thrive and become one of the STARS.

Just remember if you are new to the relocation business, in the sense you are the one doing the relocating, to stay clear of the penny people, find yourself a Catalina’s coffee house and meet new friends.

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