Monday, 11 January 2021 20:11

Meaningful Changes

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Author in Grade 9 Yearbook photo Author in Grade 9 Yearbook photo

Photo Credit:  The Author in her Grade 9 Yearbook Photo.... YIKES!

 

Ahhh January!  The month where everyone decides that they need to change their lives and begin fresh.  Diets, Check!  Exercise routine, Check!  Starting a new hobby, Check!  They say that the average resolution lasts 12 days before it is either totally abandoned or modified, and if you are modifying it, it is usually because there has been an element of “failure” involved.  Why do we make these huge, life altering changes because of a day on the calendar?  January 11th is just as effective day to begin a change as January 1st, or even March 23rd for that matter!  An arbitrary day is not what will make you stick to a change, even if it was the inspiration to make the change.

Sometimes when we want to make a change, there is a reason for it.  We feel inadequate for the situations we are facing, or we see a negative quality in our lives and we want to make it into a positive.  Change is good, change is healthy, and change can be necessary, but you have to work to keep a change going.  Often, we believe that the good intentions are enough to carry us through, and then when we aren’t putting forth the proper effort, and we fail.  We then see it as another shortcoming and that the failure is due to our lack of value or worth. 

When I write these blog posts, I am generally writing them to the youth that I have met at camp.  I am aiming, for the most part, at the teens who have inspired me with their great attitudes and their desire to change the world.  These kids are full of hope, and energy, and a vision for the world they want to live in, and energy (… LOL), and it brings me back to my own time in high school.  I was a bright, happy, and friendly kid, who saw more to her life than what there was at the time.  Growing up in a small Saskatchewan town, sometimes you dream of the bright lights and 24-hour convenience stores of the big city and you want to get there as soon as you can! I was a kid with some big dreams.  None of those dreams are the same dreams that I have today.  My plans evolved and changed as I did, and yet none of that change revolved around a calendar date.

I remember back in high school I wanted to be a doctor.  I loved the idea of medicine. Curing people, fixing them, helping them.  I never had the marks, or the dedication to devote the minimum 10 years of school to do it, but it was a pipe dream.  Then there was the rock star dream.  I wanted to sing and be in a band.  One problem: I could neither sing nor play an instrument.  The list goes on… I had all these ideas, and changes that I wanted to make happen, and because I didn’t do the work to learn or move forward with the plans to make these dreams into reality, I occasionally would feel like I was failing. 

If you asked the people who know me today and who knew me then, they would say that I am not the same person I was 20 years ago.  That’s because I made true meaningful changes that were more than resolutions.  I believed in finding the things that really meant something to me were the most important in life.  I didn’t become a doctor or a nurse, but I still help people and make them feel as good as possible with the work I do for people with mental first aid and the mentorship opportunities that I volunteer for. I am not a rock star living the bright lights and fame game, but I do think that I am indeed “all that” every once in a while, as I do karaoke with friends, or sing along in my car to the radio, because singing makes me happy.  The idea of getting out and making my world a better place was not a once-a-year idea that was based on the flip of a calendar page, but something that I had to do day in and day out to keep the momentum going.

 

grad tracey

 

(This is from my Grade 12 Yearbook....Good GRAVY!  Why did I think I had style???)  For the record, I don't remember the Christmas meal Fiasco, and I fell off of a log bridge in Cypress HIlls, into a stream, and was soaked from head to toe, and wasn't allowed into the interpretive center because I was a bedraggled mess!  (and I think my sister is still serving detention time for all of my lates!)

Here’s a controversial story about change.  I worked in a retail music store for a long time, so I fancy myself a bit of a music expert!  One of the most popular rock bands in Canada is Nickelback.  I HATE NICKELBACK. In the year 1999/2000, I went to a music festival called Edgefest.  One of the opening acts was a little band called Nickelback. They were this new rock band from Hannah, Alberta.  They had one single, Leader of Men, and they were new to radio.  I enjoyed the single, and I at the time, enjoyed the band. However, as time marched forward, this little band from Hannah toured the country and then they toured the world, and I began to notice that they stayed the same.  There was no growth… no musical exploration, not one chord progression!  Its an easy complaint to make, but Nickelback still plays music that they played in high school.  They have ignored the experiences that they have had, the opportunities that they have been given, (and earned, of course), and they have not grown as a band.  Change and growth are so natural, that I figure they have purposefully remained the same little rock band for years.  This lack of growth has frustrated me to the point that I have to say that I dislike this band.  If they used the fantastic opportunities that they have had and made changes and grown, I would have a different opinion of them, I am sure of it!

Nickelback is only one example that I have of people refusing to grow and become the best versions of the thing they should be.  Stagnancy is lame!  Growth and experimentation are not only fun, but you get to see and do so many things, and you can learn from them.  Once you begin learning from these situations it is because of this that you begin to make meaningful change. Your focus can shift and you can see the path that you need to take to become a better friend, parent, partner, worker, human! These kinds of changes are not going to be made because of a resolution.

New Year’s Resolutions are not bad for assisting in making a change happen, in fact, they can be the catalysts to much larger changes and opportunities, you just need to make sure that you are willing to do the work and make the changes happen.  You won’t change anyone or anything without doing the work.  Exactly what the “work” is, is heavily dependent on your goal and expected outcome, and it’s hard to narrow down in a blog post without getting specific.  The decision to make the change can happen any time in the year, even when you are at a summer camp!  That is why, at the Co-op Camp sessions where we talk about your individual goals, and becoming the best version of yourself that you can possibly be, we work with each teen in a direct fashion.  There are a lot of mentors that one can gain while at Co-op Camp! 

You should take a hard look at the resolutions that you have made this year, and you should decide if these are going to lead to meaningful changes and if they are, do everything you can to make sure that you succeed!  If they are worth the hard work, then they are something that you will benefit from in the long run.  Your friends at Co-op Camp are rooting for you all the way!  And if you ever need a cheerleader in your corner, the same people who send you Warm Fuzzies in the summer, will send them to you year-round!  Jump on our social media and tell us about the changes that you are making for the better, both in January of 2021, and beyond!

 

 

Last modified on Thursday, 20 May 2021 21:34