To Change Often

The biggest reason I was scared of coming to America was my fear of change. Things were going so well in Mongolia for me and I was so happy that I didn't want that to change. I was even a little sick to my stomach sometimes, wondering what being gone for five weeks would mean. I know that might sound silly, but think back to when you left home for school, or when you left a loved one for a long period of time. What would coming back be like? Better? How could it be better if things were already wonderful?

I think things can improve beyond wonderful for three reasons: (1) things had to change in order for you to get to the wonderful place you are at currently, (2) things always change, wonderful is a perspective and (3) you can control how you respond to your situation, that's it. I didn't learn all of this at once, and especially not on my own. Some things I hoped would be true (and they were) and some things my friends reminded me of as I was up at night wondering why my stomach hurt.

"To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often." I had never thought about being perfect in that way, but you have to adapt, grow, and be better constantly. It is easy to forget, but if things are wonderful right now that means you had to give up where you were before to be where you are now. You had to leave home to go to school, you had to leave your country to go overseas, you had to leave your old ideas of who you were to become someone you had never been before. If you are happy now, imagine how happy you will be tomorrow, and the next day. Keep growing and improving and you will blow your flippin' mind.

The fact is that everything is always changing, from the smallest subatomic particles to the largest galaxies. Whether we see that as wonderful or not actually tells us more about ourselves than anything else. We see the world as we are. Do we want it to be wonderful, full of opportunities, love and fun? That's a choice we can make ourselves. We are, and the world will be, what we think about day in and day out.

So once I really thought about what I could control I realized that the things that worried me regarding my five weeks away from Mongolia were the same things that worried me about leaving America over a year ago. I wanted to maintain close relationships, let people know I loved them and cared about them, and stay true to the things I believed in. I have learned that there are always ways to do those things no matter where you are, including sending cards, making calls, taking pictures (with other miniature ones even), taking time for reflection, and living in moment to moment awareness. At this level change becomes manageable, almost a day-to-day check list in my mind about the people and things I love and care about. Do my loved ones know I care about them? Did I show them that today? Am I living out what I believe in? If yes, perfect. If no, improve. Simple enough.

Needless to say, my worries about returning to a less wonderful Mongolia (or America for that matter) were unfounded. I have been completely astounded by how wonderful all of you are in both places. I am a very lucky person to know each of you and to be enjoying my life with you. Thank you for teaching me that change is nothing to be afraid of.