Embracing change with gratitude

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“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”

— Steve Jobs

Our world is constantly evolving, whether we like it or not. I once worked with a woman who quite often said, “You need to remember, I don’t like change!”

She would say it in order to buck inevitable change in the workplace, a way of protesting the march of technology, or even a simpler way of accomplishing a necessary outcome.

When it comes to change, who among us loves it? Change is challenging, inevitably hard on either the heart or the brain, sometimes both. It is human nature to put on the brakes and say, “Whoa, let me stay with what I know.”

One of my father’s observations about having chosen farming because he loved working the land began to be challenged by the demands of paperwork, growing with each passing year.

My husband, who loves what he does and has long said he has no desire to retire, began a few years ago noting that the necessity of keeping up with computer technology will be the one thing that drives him toward retirement.

So, where do we go with our old ways of doing things? We push through it, and we find a way to come to terms with even the most maddening changes forced in our path.

A study over 20 years following the course of aging individuals showed that those who were the happiest and healthiest were those who realized they could not control the people in their life any more than they could control the change that inevitably comes in a lifetime.

One quote from an elderly lady involved in the study stays with me. “I didn’t want my daughter to die before me, but she died anyway. I had to let go of the fact I had no control over any of it.”

Acceptance, put in such succinct terms, is the only thing that makes sense. This woman was in her early 90s, and realized the double-edged sword of being blessed with a long life also meant inevitable loss and change.

The most important focus must be filling our lives with work that brings its own reward, surrounding ourselves with good, positive-minded people, while living an attitude of gratitude, even in the smallest joys.

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” — John F. Kennedy

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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, in college.

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