Insanity. INSANITY. I-N-S-A-N-I-T-Y.

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Insanity. Insanity. Insanity. Insanity.

I can type the letters I-N-S-A-N-I-T-Y in that exact order as many times as I want to, hoping each time that a new word will emerge, but the result will always be the same word: Insanity.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, while expecting a different result. So, allow me to ask a question — you can choose if it will be a rhetorical one.

Are you insane?

Perhaps I should rephrase and redirect the question: Am I insane?

To answer the question, let me propose a hypothetical situation. Imagine I’m following a road. La dee da, there I go, ambling along the road before me. Suddenly, as I’m walking, I run into a huge brick wall that just happens to be blocking the entire road in front of me.

I persistently continue walking, but each time, I walk into this brick wall. Again and again, I try to keep walking on this road. Again and again, I run into that wall.

If you saw me attempt this feat, I hope you’d say something like, “You know, I don’t think that’s the best road to follow. Maybe you should go around the wall or take a different road.” But you’d probably snicker and be more like, Okay, this girl has some issues. 

Yes, I’m being slightly facetious since I doubt the majority of us will ever actually encounter a scenario like this.

But what about those of us who keep facing the same struggles in our lives and keep failing to overcome them? Because if you’re anything like any other human in the world, it’s highly likely that you’re facing — or have faced — some obstacles in your life.

I don’t want to waste my life running into the same roadblocks. But to overcome those roadblocks, that means changing something. And it seems odd, but change often correlates with humility.

Snap. Did I just say that?

Yep, I did.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Perseverance and determination are also essential for change and for overcoming challenges. But I think the first step just might be humility.

If you’ve used Google Maps, Waze or any GPS app, chances are you’ve heard the word, “Recalculating.”

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There are an assortment of reasons that could prompt the word. Maybe there’s road construction or an accident along the way. Maybe there’s a mass exodus of drivers to the grocery stores in lieu of an impending winter storm, causing an insane amount of traffic. Maybe you made the wrong turn.

But all of those reasons boil down to the fact that the route you were originally following wasn’t the optimal choice. It wasn’t perfect.

So, you have to adjust. And that can be hard to do because that means maybe, just maybe, you aren’t perfect. And, let’s be honest, who likes admitting that?

But I don’t want to refuse to adjust my path because I’m too proud, afraid, lethargic or stubborn.

At some point then, don’t we need to rethink something? Don’t we need to recalculate and adjust? Don’t we need to admit that something needs to change?

Maybe you’re not content with the progress — or the lack of progress — you’re making. Maybe you wish you were on a different path, but you’re too afraid of change. Maybe you’re just comfortable with the same old routine you’ve been performing for years now. Maybe you think you deserve the bruises that brick wall keeps giving you.

But I challenge you — just like I challenge myself — to look at the road you’re on right now and assess both your progress and the destination you’re pressing toward. Are you getting where you want to be? Or are you stuck in a gif-like loop of walking into the same brick wall?

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“Though changed, no doubt, from what I was when first I came among these hills…”

–William Wordsworth

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Yeah, yeah, I know. I’m awful at this whole keeping-the-blog-up-to-date thing. But I might as well post something now, while I’m thinking of it.

Here’s a blurb from my previous post on change:
“I have been experiencing a lot of change in my life recently — moving out, becoming independent, more responsibilities at work and life in general, my impending senior year of college, thoughts about where I’m going to end up in the future — and I have grown to realize that I actually like change.”

In an ironic way, you could say that I’m in a very similar situation this very day (uncannily almost exactly a year after my last post). Here I am, facing another life-changing time in my life. I graduated from college, and in a couple of weeks, I’ll be moving into my very own apartment (so very independent). I started a new job in the field that I wanted (I even get some spiffy business cards). Suffice it to say, I am very much encountering the realities of “adulting.” But here I am, still enjoying the changes that I have been through, and looking forward to the changes I will be going through.

But that wasn’t the main reason why I wanted to write a post today… Did I mention I got to travel to Europe this summer? For three weeks, I got to explore the Czech Republic, Austria and Germany, with a very good friend. And it was absolutely amazing and beautiful and eye-opening and so, so cool.

While I took hundreds and hundreds of pictures throughout the trip, I decided along the way that I wanted to take portraits of locals in each town/city we visited. Thankfully, when I wanted to back out (because I had no knowledge of the language and would probably seem like a bumbling idiot), my friend told me to just do it. She taught me the Czech phrase I would need, and the portraits began (I eventually realized that I tended to gravitate toward intriguing old men… that’s not too weird, right?)

Like I said before, I have so many pictures from this trip. And these are obviously not the most professional or masterful portraits ever. But, to me, these portraits will always be special. Because they were random encounters with real people living individual stories, during a once-in-a-lifetime trip. Some of them may have a hard life; some of them may have a simple life; and some of them may have a happy life. But I think I was drawn to these people because, unconsciously, I wanted to capture the wisdom they’ve earned, or their quiet enjoyment of life, or their continuing pursuit of living a full and free life.

And, in honor of those whose lives were cut short, I want to be sure that I look forward to the life I am blessed to live and the changes that come my way.

Change

Change

I realized today that I have been absolutely awful at keeping up with this whole blog thing. So to all of my avid fans and followers (I can dream, right?), I extend my humble apology. But my deficiency has been for a good reason (as opposed to laziness or lethargy… or the fact that I may or may not have forgotten about it). Nope, it’s mostly thanks to change. Tell me more, you ask. Certainly.

I have been experiencing a lot of change in my life recently — moving out, becoming independent, more responsibilities at work and life in general, my impending senior year of college, thoughts about where I’m going to end up in the future — and I have grown to realize that I actually like change. Change is so often feared, which I definitely understand. “Making or becoming different” is in the definition of the word and that sounds pretty daunting. I doubt most people like to think that they, or their lives, need improvement.

But then, as a co-worker and I were brainstorming about ways to change/move things around at work, I had an epiphanic moment (that might be a bit dramatic, but it’s just such a cool word). It dawned on me that change means something. It means that something is happening in your life, allowing the chance for growth and the possibility for a better life. Maybe it’s something small and seemingly insignificant, like changing from Glad trash bags to Hefty trash bags. Or maybe it’s huge and life-changing, like moving away from home. But when that trash bag doesn’t rip open anymore (I am in no way promoting or belittling a particular brand of trash bags) or you meet your best friend/soul mate/long-lost twin/[insert here] in your new hometown, that change doesn’t seem as scary or horrible.

So often, it’s hard to look past those decisions looming over you and see the countless possibilities that come after. But they are out there. And while you may differ in opinion, I believe that those chances are offered by God. We don’t have to remain stagnant; we can grow. Instead of staying in a rut (even if it is a smooth, well-paved rut), maybe you can choose to accept that opportunity as means to better yourself.

And that’s what I think is pretty cool. With every change that we experience, we have the opportunity to accept it and to actively upgrade ourselves and our lives.

And now for a teaching moment:

Think about money. The change that you get back from the store doesn’t really seem like much. Maybe you’ll throw that dime away, or lose it, or give it as a tip. Or maybe, you can choose to put it in a jar, along with the other nine dimes that you kept. Lookie there, a whole dollar. Now you can go to Cumbie’s and buy any size of coffee that you want. Or you can just keep on saving those dimes in a jar and once that jar is full, put that money toward your student loans… Every little bit counts, right? So you get my point. If you choose to see that change as significant, it will be. Maybe it just takes some time.

P.S. If you ever find me complaining about impending changes in my life, feel free to call me out and remind me about this blog post.