We have settled in. Sort of anyway. The kids know how to get to school, when to leave, where the parks and library are. We meal plan, have Friday night movie nights, and try to be outside as much as possible as fall is here and the leaves are changing. We have ideas for how we want to fill our time and sometimes they come to fruition. I have never felt so adult in my life.
And yet, I still feel unsettled. My routines are partially in place, I get to work on time, get home on time, cook meals, and put the kids to bed. But the other things that make up a life are still not there really. I am out of my reading routine, I am not sure when to call people that I normally talk to, I am posting on social media at the wrong time. I don’t even feel like I know how to dress anymore. And what am I even anymore now that I am not teaching kids actively?
And so I dream of the things I want to do, waiting for that right time. When life has finally settled more. When the kids seem to be okay. When I feel right for longer stretches of time. But when will that happen? Do we ever really feel well-rested and fully ready to take on anything?
Change is hard when ordinary life is overwhelming. When we tread water and try to just make it to the finish line of the day.
Change is hard when we have been in the same place for a long time. We know how to make things work, so why rock the boat?
Change is hard when we have to worry about the daily lives of others, make sure that we don’t up-end too much because who knows how it will reverberate in the future.
Change is hard when it is just us trying to make our way.
It seems there is no time when change is not hard.
I have wanted to winter bathe for years. In Wisconsin, there wasn’t much time for it. But here in Denmark, it is everywhere. I spoke my idea aloud to my husband, tried to sign us up for a membership (sauna included after the dip) but was told there were no open member spots.
Friday night, I got sick of waiting for the time to change. For life to feel under control enough for me to take more on. After all, there is no guarantee that that will ever happen. I cannot think of a time in my life when time was abundant and energy was too.
So Saturday morning we drove to the ocean and ran into it. 53-degree air temperature. It was not warm, not winter either. And we ran out and huddled in our towels and laughed. This morning we did it again.
We don’t have access to the sauna. I don’t have my flip-flops, they are in a shipping container coming our way. We each have one towel which tends to be damp most of the time. There is sand everywhere in our car. We are probably not doing it right, I think we are supposed to sit in the water for longer.
But we feel alive. And we like it. And we want to do it again. It was just the change I needed to feel good about the now we are in.
Change is funny that way. We can wait for the right time in our lives to finally change. We can wait for the big moments such as a move across the world to finally change. We can wait for others to tell us, to make us. Or we can simply take a step and make the change we have wanted for so long.
I could have waited for our membership to go through. I could have waited to get the right gear. To grow bolder. To grow older. For the time to feel more right.
But I didn’t. Because the change was needed now.
How often do we wait for the right time in our classrooms to change? How often do we think, “next year”, or when I switch grades, or when the time is better. Or even when I am not just trying to survive every day. Our routines save us time and time again but at what cost?
So what are the changes you have been dreaming of? What have you been too afraid to do?
The time will never be right, so consider what you can tweak? What can you replace so it doesn’t feel like more is added? What is that unit? That lesson? That shift in practice you have wanted to try?
If you are scared, tell yourself it is a pilot. Allow yourself to try and know that it doesn’t have to be permanent. We jumped at the chance of moving home because we knew we could return to the US if it didn’t work it (it wouldn’t be easy to relocate don’t get me wrong but that door is not closed).
If you feel there is no time, audit your schedule; where can you fit it in? (What might you pause in order to try something new).
If you feel there is no support, involve your students in the planning. Their excitement often carries us through.
If you don’t know what to change but know there is a need; ask your students. What works? What doesn’t? What are their dreams and hopes? What can you plan together?
I spoke of moving home to Denmark for years, casually mentioning it, and always thinking “some day.” But to take the leap, to say yes, and actually do it has been the scariest adult thing I have done since having children. And it is easy to get paralyzed by that. It is easy to feel like that change was enough change and now we settle into our routine as quickly as we can.
But it turns out there are still many other new things to try.
The change continues. What is the life I have wanted to have for so long? What are the routines I wanted to change? How do I want to raise my children? How do I want to live my one and precious life to quote Mary Oliver?
Because we can wait for the time to be right.
Or we can embrace the time that is now.
It doesn’t have to be perfect, change never is, but it can make us feel alive again.
Don’t wait. It’s not as scary as it sounds.
In fact, you could say, come on in, the water is just fine.
PS: Are you looking for coaching or virtual presentations? I am available and would love to support your work. Whereas I am physically located in Denmark now, I can travel if needed. In fact, I will be in the US and Canada in February 20223. If you would like me to be a part of your professional development, please reach out. I am here to help. For a lot more posts, resources, live and recorded professional development, please join my Patreon community where most of my sharing takes place these days.
9 thoughts on “On Change”
I love that you say ‘it is a pilot’. In a process of many changes now and also had come to the realisation that whatever we do, it doesn’t have to be permanent. It is unsettling and energising all at once, but embracing it and making ‘moments’ help spin a smile into the turns. Thank you :0). What a beautiful beach to have so close by!
Than you for this. It arrived
I especially appreciate your reflections as we unexpectedly gained a Danish daughter (exchange student whose initial placement didn’t work out) in late September. Hosting is something we thought about doing “when the time is right.” She has been such a wonderful addition to our family so far!
Beautiful. Resonates deeply. Thank you for writing this.
I love this email post so much. It came at a good time. I made a change this year from teaching 6th grade ELA to 6th grade Math. I like the change in subject as it’s refreshing, but now I’m realizing I think I need to change out of being in the classroom. Your words of wisdom below are helping me think things through.
Pernille, You’re doing water thing just fine! There is an entire global community who dip and swim in cold water. Think of a dripping wet global read aloud. 😉 DM if you’d like some good online resources.
You’ve made a big, brave move. Wishing you well in your adventures.
I am the Youth Services Manager of the Neenah Public Library in East Central Wisconsin. A while back I saw your quote, “You are just the child we hoped would show up, so welcome, we are glad you are here.” I would love to put this quote up in my storytime room if you allow it. It is the absolute perfect sentiment for how we view our patrons, families, and kids.
Thank you for your consideration.
Katrina Wulff (she, her, hers) Youth Services Manager Neenah Public Library 240 E Wisconsin Ave. Neenah, WI 54956 920-886-6335 ________________________________
Of course, just give credit. I am so glad the words can help.