Monday, July 15, 2013

Time to Move On

I ran into a friend who I hadn’t seen in a while. We chatted five minutes, trying to cover major happenings in our lives, one of which was her status as a teacher. “I don’t teach anymore,” she said, “It was time to move on.”

During the last year, I’ve been struggling with a decision—nothing major—nevertheless, difficult. It’s my horseback riding lessons. It’ll be five years this September since I first climbed up onto Echo, a lean horse whose height may be 17 hands. Looking down at the ground gave me a feeling of being SO high up and I was slightly nervous; however, before the lesson was over, I knew I’d be back.

Being on the farm gives me a temporary transformation from life that is surrounded by computers, dishes, cars, houses, buildings and highways, to that of a farm house, barns, pasture, woods and animals. Many times I have rushed to get there, but sometime between grooming and tacking the horse, and mounting it, tranquility enters my body. Starting in the two-point position, I stretch my legs and torso as my horse’s gait is a leisurely walk. Soon, the gait changes to a trot in the ring where I have been taught to ride on the correct diagonal. Further in the lesson, I canter. If the mulch footing is not wet from rain, I do some jumping. And then there are days when we skip all of that and head into the woods for a trail ride.

Is it time to give it up and move on?

Getting dressed in my riding “blue jeans,” struggling with my half chaps, cutting carrots for horse treats, gathering my helmet, sunglasses, water bottle, the check book, and jacket and gloves if it’s winter, takes time. Then there’s the 23 minute ride, the lesson, playing with the animals, and the ride back—two to two and half hours of my day. My lesson is only once a week (though rain and other things limit me to 3 times a month), but still, lately it feels like it takes a major chunk of time away from the long list of other things to do. I’m torn between staying and leaving.

Why? Because I can become a better rider and because I enjoy it? Yes. But will I ever feel that it’s complete; that there is nothing more to learn? No.

This little story and example can represent most things in life. How long do you stay at the same job? Do you move from your house to a retirement community or assisted living? Do you send your adult children out into the world on their own? Do you let go of the person you love or used to love because he or she is making your life miserable? Do you stop breastfeeding your baby or toddler?

Why is it hard to make changes? Not all changes, of course, but so many. Nostalgia perhaps; or fear? Nostalgia is not a problem for me, as I tend to appreciate much of my past, but want to grow and experience the mystery of my future. Fear? Hmmm… What happens if I quit my lessons? Nothing (convincing myself), because if I miss it terribly, I take lessons again. Right?
Everything changes—whether you make the decision to move on or the decision is made for you. And much of the time, it’s replaced with something just as satisfying.

Do you have a decision to make about something that’s hanging over your head? Is it time to move on? Care to share?

Other thoughts?

Below are the lyrics to a song that I seldom hear nowadays, but one that I love hearing when I do. The composer is Bernard Ighner and it has been recorded by a several artists—George Benson and Barbra Streisand being two of them.

"Everything Must Change"

Everything must change
Nothing stays the same
Everyone must change
No one stays the same

The young become the old
And mysteries do unfold
Cause that's the way of time
Nothing and no one goes unchanged

There are not many things in life
You can be sure of
Except rain comes from the clouds
Sun lights up the sky
And hummingbirds do fly

Winter turns to spring
A wounded heart will heal
But never much too soon
Yes everything must change

The young become the old
And mysteries do unfold
Cause that's the way of time
Nothing and no one goes unchanged

There are not many things in life
You can be sure of
Except rain comes from the clouds
Sun lights up the sky
And butterflies do fly

Rain comes from the clouds
Sun lights up the sky
And music
And music
Makes me cry


joeh said...

If you ask yourself the question, you probably already know the answer.

yonca said...

In my opinion it's hard to change most of the time because we can't be sure if we're gonna -be safe- and feel better. At first, it seems
like loosing things but then we notice it's just replacing..

InSeason Mom Cynthia said...

I have no problem embracing change when it comes to my career. However, I’m more resistant when it comes to any personal life changes.

Abby said...

I never understood people who say, "Five more years and I can retire from this hell!" Anything is hell and I'm outta there!

I'm usually happy to take on a change, seeing it more of an adventure. If it doesn't work out so well, then change again.

I tend to agree with joeh.

Tabor said...

Change is always threatening because we fear the new challenge, we fear failure and we fear finding out something about ourselves that we might not like. But change is inevitable. I think with you horse riding lessons you need not change...just pause and re-evaluate sometime in the future.

Shelly said...

When I was contemplating retirement, it was so hard at first to even think of it, however, as time passed, the thought became a more comfy fit. And now that I'm actually retired, I'm a little flabbergasted that I waffled so long with it. It feels wonderful to be retired!

I say follow your heart, and not so much your head in matters like this.

Kat said...

I think we all know the answer to our questions but we sit on it. We all have a gut feeling one way or the other but we question and ponder and ask again and again. I think we need to trust ourselves more.
As Shelly said, follow your heart.
As I read this I thought "NO!" Don't quit riding! But if it seems more of a burden than a joy right now that is your answer.

Linda Hensley said...

It seems to me that if you enjoy riding Echo, then that's time well spent. If you've stopped enjoying it as much, then it might be time to do something else. Either way, you're certainly entitled to a couple hours for yourself every week.

The things that have gotten me stuck in life have been jobs and men, mostly in the wondering if there's anything for me after this one, and in a more insidious thought process, that I "should" stick things out because other people or society tells me so. The path to hell is lined with "shoulds".

Hilary said...

Yup, I'm on the threshold of a biggie, right now... my move. It's already a done deal (the purchase) but I'm just not quite there yet (the move). Soon.

I thought you gave your own self the answer early on in your post. ".. but sometime between grooming and tacking the horse, and mounting it, tranquility enters my body"

I'd think long and hard about trading that in for more chores, stress and must-dos. It would seem to me that if you find joy in riding, you should hang onto that pleasure. Chores can always wait. Peace of mind is elusive and I'd grab it by the reins .. so to speak.

Barb said...

The older I get, the less I resist change. It sounds wrong - like change should come easier to the young, but I don't think it does. In the years of college, job, and family there is such a delicate balance that when one thing shifts, it all seems to tumble. Now, I don't resist change so much, having learned that I really can't control it anyway. Even if I can't welcome it, I try to flow along to see where the current takes me. If you make a decision about riding, and it's the wrong one - you can always make another choice. But, Anita, definitely make some time for just you - don't fill that time with obligations and errands.

Cathy said...

Hello Anita
Sometimes we ananlyse things too much - I think the answer for you is in the fact that you still enjoy what you are doing - its when the glow has worn off that the question is often asked.
Last year I moved on from a volunteer position I'd held for 10 years - that feeling wasn't there anymore and I felt I could help others in a different way so made the decision to 'move on'.
Have found something else and am much happier.
Take care

Cathy @ Still Waters

Joanna Jenkins said...

My sisters and their kids all ride. I never did but I know they can't imagine ever stopping. It gives them such pleasure to ride. So I say, if you like it why stop?

I think I'm to the point in my life that change isn't so hard anymore. I've worked hard to unload the stuff I don't like and I'm very lucky to be able to make changes more easily now. Of course I hope I didn't just jinx myself saying that ;-)

Midlife Roadtripper said...

Your horse riding sounds like me and snow skiing. I had done it for 34 years - but realized at the age I had become I preferred sitting in a warm place, with a book. Took me a long time to reconcile that - as though I was truly giving up a piece of myself. Then again, I had evolved into someone else than the 13 year old girl that first learned to shush down a mountain.

If you still enjoy the riding - and feel comfortable and at ease - then do it. If family and household things are on your list instead, then absolutely keep doing it. If you have found something you like better - like writing or painting or exercise or something else that brings you joy, go for it.

Lovely post.

RAnn said...

Change is hard, but I think that leads to stability. I think the riding lesson question is easy: Do you still enjoy it? Does it keep you from doing something you'd enjoy more? Does it keep you from doing something you need to do? On the job or relationship front there are other factors to consider, but change for the sake of change rarely works out IMO.

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

Great post!
It took me nearly a year to decide to look for work after my husband retired. I loved being a SAHM but the kids had mostly outgrown their need of me being there at home for them, and Dad was now available -- plus he was driving me a little crazy.
I know that something needs to change when I become discontent. Peace of mind is not to be underrated!