Changes, Challenges, & Cheerleaders

What’s up with that title? Besides being a HUGE fan of alliteration, it also focuses on three good things in my life. Granted, two of the three can be hard, but with the right perspective they all three prompt smiles.

First, I’ll tackle CHANGE. My mascot for change is the butterfly. Why? It goes from a caterpillar to a cocoon to a beautiful butterfly. [We’ll overlook that their lifespan is anywhere from a week to a year; I choose to focus on the positive.] In fact, I now have butterflies on my phone case as well as hanging from my ears as a visual reminder that change can be good.

Most people aren’t fans of change. For the most part, I’m not either. However, a change needs to be analyzed. Is it a change for the good or simply a change for the sake of change? The first – winner, winner, chicken dinner! The latter – it could still be good. For instance, a couple years ago I requested a change in my teaching assignment. After teaching third grade for 24 years, I wanted to try something new. Well, not super new…it was just a grade difference, but it’s been a good change. Why? It’s challenged me (Ahhh, see how the first CH leads to the second?). I’ve learned things (or relearned things) that I hadn’t done in years. I’ve spent time pondering how to improve various avenues of the curriculum’s instruction. It’s stirred up the “new teacher excitement” that had faded in third grade.

At the same time I requested that change, I started a new one. It was part of my mid-life crisis. I restarted my commitment to the gym and exercising. In the past, this urge would last for 3-6 months then it would fade again. Alas, not this time. Whoot! Whoot! It’s been over 2 years now, and I’m still going to the gym an average of 4 times a week but exercising 6 times a week and often 7. Has this CHANGE been a CHALLENGE? Of course, but my daily pics serve as a reminder that it has been a good change. The sole reason for my workout pics are to serve as a reminder when FB tosses them back up the following year. When the scale doesn’t budge, I try and focus on better fitting clothes and more energy. However, the pic comparisons are their own type of CHEERLEADER to my journey.

Ahh, the CHEERLEADERS! What a blessing they are! I would guess that none of them wake up and say, “I’m going to bless Jodi’s journey by encouraging her to keep going?” However, their choice to spend a few seconds to say that they see the change – whether physical, mental, or whatever….means SO MUCH.

Oops, I almost slid right past challenges. Most of us are not big fans of those, but…as long as it’s presented in a positive manner…I like a challenge. In my career, challenge me to try a new teaching strategy or technique. I’ll jump in quickly and give it a try or two or several. I may not stick with it if it doesn’t fit me or my class, but I’ll rise to the challenge. With my quest for getting healthy, I will pay to participate in 100-mile-challenges as a manner of accountability. I’m currently 3/4 of the way finished with my 3rd of the year. Last year, I completed 4, so this year I’ve challenged myself to complete 5 of these challenges. Why? I mean, no one calls me to say, “Did you push yourself today? Did you add a mile?” However, this morning, I left the house determined to walk 3 miles to add to my pie chart. By the end of my first mile, I had decided to push myself to do 4 miles since my “usual” is a 2-mile route and today I’m free to walk more. I’ve also challenged myself to step out of the box and to ponder beliefs. Whether it was trying my first drink last May (wasn’t a fan) or teaching myself that saying “no” to people is perfectly acceptable.

I’ve also challenged myself to grow in confidence. How? When I restarted my exercising, I wouldn’t go to the gym unless my sister or nephew joined me. Now, it’s my usual to go solo. Eating in a restaurant solo was never something I chose to do, but now…why not? Next up? I’m pondering going to a movie by myself…I mean, why not?

So, my friends….I encourage you to EMBRACE CHANGE….



And THAT…is today’s lesson from Main Street.

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