I grew up in one of the most midwest of midwest towns. Dayton, Ohio. I never used to think twice about hopping in the car for twenty minutes or so and going somewhere that was the routine. It’s one of those things that had been ingrained in my perception of reality. That’s what everyone did, and what I did.
I left Dayton for New York City some years after college. I lived in NYC for roughly three years, and it seemed that I would visit Ohio about twice a year for maybe a week or so each time. This last time was different, it was the holidays. I had to run an errand in Columbus, which is about an hour away from Dayton, and I had some time to kill so I went to the mall. For some reason I realized the insanity of the way most of the US goes about their day. Get in the car, drive, get out of said car, get back in; repeat. I am not taking on car culture in this post, though full disclosure I ride a bicycle almost exclusively. In that moment I realized I have changed from who I was.
Not to long ago I may have had a belief that at the core people really don’t change. I know that to be untrue for this specific case of my own. I can’t speak for other people, but I believe that if it can happen for one it can happen for most. I look back at how my outlook and attitude has been shaped formed over the last three years.
The idea of change is scary for most people (that is my belief) Change is hard and uncomfortable. For me change in environment came quick. Once I decided to move to NYC I was there with an apartment and job within a week. Truth be told I have always been fairly comfortable with a changing environment. The scary part of change for me is the emotional. It forces you to look inward. It forces you to see what you don’t want to see. To see inside of yourself and decide that you want change takes energy. The energy that needs to remain constant an unwavering. My emotional journey is what allowed me to have the reaction I did in the parking lot. That changed has been shaped by the people that have been in my life in the last three years. Those people were people that have let me into their lives and I have let into mine. Both scary propositions. These people have shown great patience with me, which has allowed me to reflect and grow.
I am no longer stuck in thinking certain things have to be a certain way. I am no longer stuck accepting the status quo just because it’s status quo. I have grown and continue to grow everyday because of people and places in my life. These are the things that shouldn’t be taken for granted.