Anne Josephson, the wife of Michael Josephson, founded The Josephson Academy of Gymnastics (JAG Gym), one of the largest and most successful gymnastics schools for children in Los Angeles. She is a prominent member of the gymnastics community and an expert on youth sports. She writes a regular blog posted on her website. This post originally appeared on her blog last fall.
We all know that change is inevitable. We all know that no matter how hard we fight, how much we wish or how hard we dig our heels into the ground, that change will happen whether we like it or not.
As the French novelist Anatole French said, “All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.”
Pretty dramatic and scary stuff…depression, abandonment, death, metamorphosis…but also, very predictable and even very necessary and maybe, just maybe, change is good.
And yet, I still don’t like change. I like consistency. I like being in control and in charge. Some might call me bossy; others simply recognize that my ideas are better. I like to know what is going on so I can make sure that I know what to expect. I even like to read the end of a book first so I know what happens. I love plans. I am very attached and loyal to my family and friends, like a barnacle to a boat, and they are all very patient with me for it.
But, at the same time, I am completely enthralled by change. I am an entrepreneur by nature. I get bored with the mundane details and excited by the big ideas. And as much as I love my plans, I love changing them when something more interesting comes along. “Opportunity” is an exciting word to me. (so is “sale” but that’s another post…) Some might call me impulsive; others simply recognize that I am enthusiastic.
Like so many things in life, I find that my reaction to change proves one of my favorite axioms—it is possible to feel two opposite things at the very same time.
As parents, teachers and coaches, we witness change constantly. Kids grow-up and move on to college, or another grade or another sport. And it’s never easy. While I find it extremely exciting and I am so happy to watch them grow, I’d be lying to myself if I didn’t admit that it is also sad. And that I miss them. At the same time, few things give me greater pleasure than seeing my children and my athletes out in the world doing amazing things and, more importantly, being happy, healthy and good people.
Perhaps change is on my mind because I sent one daughter off to college this fall, and I miss her terribly and am thrilled that she is thriving. Perhaps change is on my mind because last night I went to the first official college meeting for my daughter who is a junior, and I saw the nervous parents and the amazing teachers that will shepherd us through this process once again. Perhaps change is on my mind because my husbandMichael ended his 15 year career on the radio today, and I know thousands will miss hearing his commentaries and am excited for the next phase of his writing and speaking career as I wholeheartedly believe that for him “The Best is Yet to Come.” Or, perhaps change is on my mind because now that I am on the other side of 40, I finally am accepting the words of Victor Frankl, “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” I’m pretty sure that is fancy talk for: grow up.
There is a Buddhist saying, “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” The companion idea regarding change, “Change is inevitable. Resisting is optional.” That includes not resisting how we feel about change and to embrace that it is possible to be both happy and sad about change. One feeling does not exist to the exclusion of the other, and change will happen no matter what. Perhaps the wisest way to approach change comes from the great philosopher Dr. Seuss who said, “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”
Here’s to smiling through the tears…and I am still going to read the end of the book first because some things never change. Thank goodness for that!