In the spirit of the New Year, I’ve spent a good part of the past week contemplating change—change I would like to make in my life and career, places I would like to go, things I would like to do, the person I would like to become. The perception is that as a person ages, change becomes harder. The theory goes that over time, people become comfortable in their ways and not only have great difficulty seeing the need for change but also implementing strategies to make long-lasting, meaningful change in their lives.
In truth, change is difficult at any age. However, age can give a person the maturity to see the need for change as well as the knowledge needed to motivate action. Research indicates that older people often are very successful making changes through counseling and in other therapeutic settings. In a recent New York Times article, Dr. Robert C. Abrams, a professor of clinical psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College in Manhattan, said, “Older patients realize that time is limited and precious and not to be wasted. They tend to be serious about the discussion and less tolerant of wasted time. They make great patients.” In fact, experts say that seniors generally have a higher satisfaction rate in therapy than younger people because they are usually more serious about it. Time is critical, and their goals usually are well defined.
A friend and mentor of mine likes to say, “The way you do anything is the way you do everything.” I’ve found this quote often holds true in my own experience. Trends tend to bleed across the separate spheres of my life, and I find myself faltering in similar ways on different endeavors. It is inordinately frustrating to me to see my weaknesses play out similarly time and again. While it’s daunting to identify these trends and try to make change, the quote above also offers some comfort. If the way we do anything is the way we do everything, then it’s possible that by changing the way we do one thing, we’re able to make impact everything in our lives. It’s an amazingly empowering idea.
My hope, for others and myself, is that in 2015 we are all able to find and make that one change that will spin our lives off into a new, more positive direction.
Happy New Year!