Through The Looking Glass

If you have ever even heard of Alice in Wonderland I hope this title has some relevance to you. If you haven’t watched Alice in Wonderland… well you should watch it. I’ll tell you right now for free it’s on Netflix. Some of you might be thinking it’s a lame, children’s cartoon movie. Well, simply said, Walt Disney Pictures did justice to this story. Before I get way too off topic – I promise this does actually tie into my blog. I’m not just forcing movies on people. Through the looking glass, a metaphor created by Lewis Carroll, entails a parallel and strange world where nothing is quite as it seems. Maybe we can’t all step through looking glasses into parallel universes, but we have all experienced a slightly altered world when we are inflicted by change.

Change is defined as to make or become different. At least according to Merriam-Webster dictionaries. Realistically, I don’t even need to define change because each and every person has been touched by it. Everyone knows first hand what change is. At some, or rather at several points in our lives, we have all experienced change. It can be as simple as getting a new haircut, changing your room colour or switching up the meals you regularly make. Or change can be as drastic as getting a new job across the country, the diagnosis of a chronic illness or a death in the family. Change is perpetual. It is personal. And it is all around us. Change may be a process but it is also the initial onset. Change is the twig that starts the avalanche.

Often times when we configure reasons for paths we chose in our lives we return to instances of change. These are the moments that set everything into action. These moments expose us to different parts ofourselves. They steer the decisions we make and influence the paths we chose. Or at least that’s what most of us think. But maybe we are wrong? Maybe change doesn’t guide our direction; rather it is our new found perspectives caused by change that choose our paths. Change can be viewed as something positive and exciting as well as something scary and unknown. It can be a leap of courage or a forced new endeavor. Either way, for something to be considered change, our psychological self goes through a state of crisis. Everyone has a different severity of this phenomenom but everyone still goes through it. Because change means that you have to move on, either permanently or temporarily, from something or someone that gave you purpose and aspirations.

A few weeks ago came the day where I played my final hockey game, ever, and hung up my skates for the last time. After dedicating years, time and trading moments of my personal life for playing the sport I loved, in just one moment, it all ended. There was no post-season training, no excited anticipation for game days in the fall, no planning activities around already packed school and practice filled days. It was just done. Just like that. You always know that one day, like the blink of an eye, the day will come. This thought comes either as a reassurance on your worst days or as a motivator on your best. But until you are in that moment, you never believe it. The funny thing is, it isn’t just hockey. Somewhere along the way of the 6 am practices, killer bagskates and irreplaceable friendships, hockey becomes part of your identity. What you do, who you are and what you aspire to be. It is what you plan your days around which evidently leaks into your whole life. Losing hockey is hard, but the scary part isn’t just losing hockey, its losing part of your identity. Or rather, modifying your identity.

I think that’s what makes us all struggle with change the most. Whether or not you lost the sport you love, moved across the country or changed your occupation, it all comes down to identity. Change redirects the things that give us direction and purpose.  Personally, I have never found change easy. I also don’t believe that anyone finds change that easy. I just believe that some people are better at embracing it. With respect to those people, I have always admired and have been envious of that ability. You see, accepting change is a skill that is constantly and repeatedly used and developed throughout life. The better you are at embracing change, the easier it is to discover new attitudes, beliefs, strengths and weaknesses that all compose our identity. Change doesn’t take away from who we are; it only allows more opportunities for us to define whom we are. At least that is how I have decided to look at it.

Sometimes, we all need to go through the looking glass to find a strange and mysterious new world to learn something new about ourselves. Life would be too easy if we didn’t right?

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