I noticed her as I walked by. She must have been in her late seventies. She was being helped by a young woman and they were discussing pillows. She was trying to choose new ones for her couch.
I soon found what I wanted and headed to another part of the store, then to the register to check out. The older woman was already there, completing her purchase of two pillows.
As she was getting ready to leave, she turned to me and the young woman at the register and said . . . “I needed some color – a change. I’ve lived in the same living room for as long as I’ve been married. My husband doesn’t like change but I’ve had enough. I want to see color. I know he’ll be upset but I just don’t care.” I smiled at her and said. .. “It’s time don’t you think?” She smiled back and nodded – You bet!
I was smiling all the way out of the store and back into my car. This feisty old woman has been waiting for a long time to add color into her life and color she would have. Good for her!
This short encounter triggered a wave of reflection.
- How often do we stall our own development and growth to accommodate somebody else’s fear of change?
- How often do people lose themselves in a relationship that’s not healthy for them?
- How do we co-exist with another and honor our personal need for change, when our partner refuses to budge?
I guess it’s different for everyone. For me, it’s all about choices. I’ve been through substantial life changes and I’ve been lucky to share my life with a supportive partner. I’m sure at times it’s been difficult for him, watching me struggle. Over the years, we’ve learned to give each other space to stretch and grow and that’s one of the reasons our relationship is strong after 26 years of living together.
In the wake of all the changes I’ve been through, I watched important relationships dissolve and fade into the history of my life. Not everyone or everything is here to stay. Holding on to that which is outdated can delay our journey.
I learned that the best way I can live my life is by being myself. I don’t know how to be anyone else.
I also know I couldn’t have waited 45 years to change my couch pillows and I have tremendous respect and admiration for the person who musters the courage to do so, after all these years, no matter what the cost.
Is there anything in your life that’s begging for a change, whether big or small? Are you ignoring it for the sake of someone else? How long are you willing to wait and why?