Confessions of a Change Addict

Confessions of a Change Addict

A lot of people tend to fear change.

Whether it’s the seasons changing, their location changing, or their job changing, they dislike it. Avoid it. Guard against it. Retreat from it.

Starting new is daunting. It’s riddled with unease.

I totally “get” why people fear it. I get why there are LOTS of risk-averse people in this world.

I’m here today to tell you I’m not one of those people.

Change excites me. Sometimes too much.

Lately, I’ve been itching for change. I’ve been looking for ways to switch up what happening in this space. What’s happening in my 8-5 space. What’s happening in my living space. What’s happening in my closet space. And in my makeup bag. And in my diet. And in LITERALLY EVERY PART OF MY LIFE.

At first, I thought to myself, “Why Erika, wanting to change everything is good! Most people fear change! But you, you delicate flower, you seek it out. You’re miles ahead of the competition. Get that credit card out and make things change! Quit your job. Start a crazy business. Book a one-way plane ticket. Chop off all your hair. Grow you crazy flower! GROW.” 

Then I took a bit of a step back.

And I realized:

Being a change addict can actually be a form of avoidance.

It’s leaving before the party’s over because there’s a lull in the action. It’s abandoning the project before it has a chance to fail. It’s jumping at the first chance you have to avoid discomfort.

Alicia shared this article the other day, in which David, the author of Raptitude (one of my new favorite blogs), talks about how as a society, we’ve become addicted to avoiding discomfort.

For every situation in which we feel slightly uncomfortable, there’s a distraction at hand. There’s a way out. There’s something to look at instead. There’s a text to attend to. A Twitter stream to refresh. A hit of caffeine or a puff of a cigarette to ease our anxiety.

I’m fairly certain though that digging in, sitting with and then pushing through the discomfort, while figuring out how to continue growing through these weird periods of perceived “stagnation” is where long-term progress and growth can really be made.

Jumping ship, seeking out the next cheap thrill or thrusting yourself into something new to avoid that discomfort of progress?

I’d say that’s probably not the kind of change that everyone is encouraging me (or you) to “embrace.”

Before the chorus of “chase your dreams” and “make the changes you need to make” start to flood the comments section of this post, let me reassure you:

I’m figuring it out. Sitting with my discomfort. Figuring out what needs to be sent out of my life and what I can change for healthy growth. I tend to go through periods of muddied confusion, followed by periods of electric clarity. Right now, I’m in the mud. Gimme two weeks. I’ll be in the clear (I hope).

In fact, this is something I come back to often as one of the most jarring parts of adulthood, compared to student life:

There’s no “logical next step.” No “next semester.”

No “graduation date” for life.

So digging in looks different. And deciding when to seek change is something you actually have to think about – not something that just happens because it’s May or December.

I’m slowly figuring it out. And striving, always, for balance (though I’m fairly certain ‘balance’ ebbs and flows with the hour as well).

Isn’t life an exciting adventure?

I sure think it is.

What do you think about change? Have you had to learn how to sit with the discomfort of  ‘perceived stagnation’? Are you a change addict? 

P.S. Guess how I decided to deal with my thirst for change? NEW HAIR COLOR. It’s on. Happening today. Look for a selfie later?!

P.P.S. After scheduling this post, my fave guru Nicole wrote something similar about this topic. Have a look if you’re interested: Effort Is Not Pain.

This post is brought to you by:

Christina @ Route Bliss

Christina @ Route BlissRB (as I’ve dubbed it) is where I share my love of travel and photography as well as what I’m learning on my journey to healthier living (adapted recipes as well as running and fitness tips and grumblings!).

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  • Brianna Soloski says:

    Yes! I’ve experienced a lot of change recently and not all of it has been pleasant, but all of it has been necessary. I’m thankful for the experiences I’ve had and the fact they’ve helped me grow. I’m learning how to live with discomfort and tension, even though I don’t like it and it frustrates me immensely sometimes.

    • So important to learn! I’m struggling with it a bit, to be honest. But weathering on!

  • Emily P says:

    I can’t wait to see your new hair color! Did you do it yourself or go somewhere? I stopped dying my hair about a year and a half ago, so now I must live vicariously through other’s hair color changes. Some days, I want to add a shock of navy to my hair (maybe underneath) but I think my boss would not be too happy about that when I go to client meetings.

    Anyway, I totally understand the desire to make a change. From talking to you and reading your blog, I feel like this is something that you’ve wanted for a while, though. You mentioned it back in February, as well. I’ll be interested to hear how else you make changes this year!

    • I’m going to a salon. Adding some red into the mix! EEe. Excited.

      And you, my friend, are correct. The winds of change are blowing.

  • Holly Ritter says:

    I am a fan of change. While people around me avoid it, I too embrace it. But you’re right, there is a delicate balance of wanting change because it needs to happen and wanting to change for the sake of change or to avoid discomfort.

    • Glad you agree! I’m working on the discomfort part. ‘Tis not easy.

  • Oh I totally get this. It’s often easier to make grand statement and sweeping changes than it is to push through daily dullness, discomfort or challenges, especially when they leave you feeling drained and inspiration-less. But sometimes it’s just after that phase that the real breakthrough happens. I really liked your post a long time ago on thinking small for big change…so maybe it’s changing one daily routine, or tweaking one blog feature, or taking 1,000 more steps a day, instead of a complete makeover. Then again, sometimes looking forward to one big change can help you make many small ripples as you lead up to it!

    • Yes, my dear, you are so right. I need to go back and read my own archives! Haha definitely thinking hard about small changes this week! Hope you had a good weekend – xox

  • You’re spot on with there being no logical next step after college. I grew up in a military family, where change was inevitable. Every two years, new school, new house, new friends, new environment. At first you rage against it, then you just accept it as your life. I can tell you that when that pace stops, it’s a whole new ballgame figuring out how to be in the same place for more than two years. Like you said, sometimes staying is much harder than going.

    I’m a big believer in making change when necessary, and I’ve been known to quit jobs without a new job lined up because it was just not working. They call it “pulling a Jenn.” Seriously. I did it a few times in a row and was starting to worry that I was incapable of sitting still or staying in the same job for more than a year. Then I came back to a newspaper and here I am, a year and change later, doing just fine. I think that those three in betweener jobs in DC were all learning experiences and seemed like a good fit, but were truly not right for me. And I’m far too strong a personality to sit and take it when I know in my heart of hearts that it’s a disaster.

    There’s digging in and making it work and there’s accepting that it’s a losing battle and you’re not doing yourself, or anyone else any good by sticking around. The hard part is in figuring out which one you need to do when.

    As for hair, I tend to change my haircut (ever so slightly) when I feel things are happening all around me and I’m completely not in control. Silly as it sounds, in those situations, a haircut is a decision I get to make on my own terms and it somehow works for me.

    Apparently, I’m going to need to post on this soon since I just wrote you a book in response.

    • Haha yes! Write a post on this! 🙂

      Sometimes I think I’d be empowered by “pulling a Jenn” as you call it. For some reason no plan sounds just as exciting as having a really well-thought-out one!

  • Ktcyril says:

    I am definitely a change addict. However, it took me two new cities in a little over three years to realize that I’m a change junkie when I’m running away from something… If only I had read this sooner 🙂

    I’m learning to accept the things that I can’t change — or should I say, things I shouldn’t run away from. Face these terrifying uncertainties head on!

  • I definitely used to be very, very impulsive about my big changes. Once I’ve found a direction, I want to chase it immediately, throwing abandon to the wind. I’m trying to train myself to do exactly what you’re doing—sitting with it—to make fewer but more thoughtful changes in my life. I want to be happier with my decisions for longer, instead of riding the roller coaster of excitement highs and apathetic lows. It is interesting to think about how our decision-making is less guided as we enter adulthood. We have to be more intuitive about when changes need to occur, instead of being guided through a system. Can’t wait to see your new FAB hair color.

    • Ah “excitement highs and apathetic lows” – so perfectly stated! I’m on that rollercoaster often as well!

  • Ashley says:

    I’m totally cool about changes in my life, but I never really prompt the change. I’ve always been pretty cautious my whole life. I should be more spontaneous though. I’ve always wanted to color my hair. Maybe I’ll start there!

    • Oooh! Do it! 🙂 I like a fun hair color change. This one didn’t come out as different as I expected. Womp, womp.

  • […] you running away from discomfort by leaping into big […]

  • Emily says:

    I so appreciate this post. As someone who tends to avoid change, it is frustrating to always hear “Chase dreams! Quit your job! Move! Do something new!” constantly from blog land. I enjoy the life I live and wouldn’t necessarily be opposed to change, but I feel content in the day to day. I love the progress that comes with staying in one place (or job) for a significant amount of time. So thank you for putting to words that staying can also be good!

    • YES. Sometimes I worry that the only reason I want to “change! move! quit job and be entrepreneur!” is because I hear/read it so much in Blogland. It’s definitely cool to read about and inspiring, but there’s a lot of RAH RAH and sometimes the hard truths get glossed over. Staying IS good!

  • This one is so relevant to me right now. In fact, I’m trying to hold back tears this evening because I’m realizing just how much change and potential change is going on in my life right now. Going into the potential changes, I was excited, and as I get closer I am more terrified, moreso because change means I no longer know what to expect, and have no idea what my immediate future will look like. I even chopped my hair off a couple weeks ago, have bought a few key wardrobe items, and am looking into new makeup looks. Change is everywhere for me right now. I think it started small and snow-balled into something that feels beyond what I was prepared for. But who knows, maybe this is what I need. Trying to have faith I’m headed in the right direction. So thank you for writing this so that I could read it when I really needed to. 🙂 And have fun with that new color!

    • Sending you warm (and enthusiastic!) thoughts – sounds like a LOT to handle, but you can do it! 🙂

  • Sam Bell says:

    I absolutely love change too. I love learning new things and I quickly get bored of jobs, hobbies and especially clothing! Change is an excellent thing and I am just getting ready for the next wave of change in my life! Can’t wait!!

  • leanne says:

    Yup. This is me, almost exactly. I tend to feel like the walls are closing in once routine sets in and I need to change my room around or redecorate my desk at work or buy new clothes or find a new hobby OR SOMETHING OR I WILL DIE. But I never die, so that’s something I try to continue to remind myself. I’m trying to work on living for the now, even in the muddy confusion. I think those are the times we learn most anyways (even if we don’t really see the lessons until the clarity kicks in)

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