Welcome to Stuff I Learned Yesterday. My name is Barb Rankin, I tried to run away from home when I was 5 years old, and I believe that if you aren’t learning, you aren’t living. In today’s episode of Stuff I Learned Yesterday I talk about change and how it is all around us.

Fun Fact:  

Here are some “fun facts” about November 8th in history: 

  1. In 1793, the Louvre opened in Paris.
  2. In 1864, Abraham Lincoln was elected to his second term as President of the United States.
  3. In 1923, Adolf Hitler led the Nazi Party in failed coup d’etat attempt to gain power in Munich, Bavaria, and Germany. It failed and Hitler was arrested and charged with high treason, in what became known as the Beer Hall Putsch.
  4. In 1939, Johann Georg Elser planted a bomb at the Burgerbrau Beer Cellar in Munich where Hitler was due to give a speech. Hitler left 8 minutes before the bomb detonated in that failed assassination attempt.
  5. In 1966, US President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the law which allowed the National Football League and the American Football League to merge and exempted them from any Anti-Trust restrictions.
  6. In 2006, Walmart expanded its supercenters into Canada opening the first three in Ancaster, London, and Stouffville, Ontario.

Today’s fun fact comes to you from thepeoplehistory.com and brainyhistory.com.

What I Learned Yesterday:

I wanted a change. I was mad at Mom, but I really don’t remember why. I know there had been too many changes in my life in a short period of time, and I wanted something else. I was only 5 years old, my father had died the year before, and his mother, my grandmother had rented the house across the street for several months before recently returning to San Francisco.

I looked my Mom in the eye, grabbed my little brother’s hand, and told her that we were leaving South Florida to go live with our Granny. I thought we could walk to California. I pulled Rob along with me, and off we went. When I got to the end of the block, there was one problem. We weren’t allowed to cross the street by ourselves. I don’t remember how long we stood there as I contemplated that little situation, but I do remember finally giving up, turning around, and heading back home. I also remember the upturned corners of mom’s mouth, as she was trying not to laugh. She knew we weren’t going anywhere – there was going to be no change of residence for my brother and me that day!

Change is defined by Merriam-Webster as becoming different or becoming something else, or making someone or something different. What I found interesting about the definition of change is that it is both active and passive, we can create the change or we can be subject to it. Make something different. Become something else. That tells us what we already know – we are not always in control of the changes that take place around us.

We’ve all created change in our lives that we have wanted, changes in which we have asserted some control. We’ve been active about those changes. Growing up in South Florida, it was either warm or hot, and I never saw the change of seasons. When I began researching colleges, I knew I wanted to attend one where I could watch the leaves change color, feel cold air on my skin, and see my breath in the frosty morning air. I was amazed to see trees that looked like little more than brown sticks become alive with green leaves in the spring, and learned that there were lilies and azaleas and all kinds of new spring flowers and bushes that I had never seen before. That was a change I planned, and it was a positive experience for me. I didn’t run away from home for a new experience, I ran toward a new phase in my life, embracing change.

Many years later, I planned my move from Baltimore to Arizona, drawing on years of experience to pack all my things, sell an old home, buy a new one, find a new job. Planning was important to ensure this change went smoothly. Again, this was something I embraced, and I ran toward this exciting change in my life, and not away from it.

Yet we all know that things can happen that haven’t been anticipated. The loss of a job. A serious illness. A divorce. The death of a loved one. These events can threaten to overwhelm us, cause us sorrow and pain, and leave us mentally and physically exhausted.

The past year has been difficult in many ways, and more so during the last few months. I’ve watched my mother begin to forget who I am, there have been unexpected deaths of friends and their family members, and job cut-backs, salary reductions, and lost benefits at work are taking their toll on my co-workers and team members. Staying positive has been very difficult at times, and it has been important to communicate our fears to each other, support each other, and vent to each other and to seek alternative solutions. We needed to find ways to reduce the stress and anxiety that each of us is feeling.

But we also need to find the joy in day-to-day living, to focus on the positive things around us, to help us cope. There are other practical things that help relieve stress, such as exercise, meditation, relaxation techniques, or even speaking with a professional who can help us sort through our concerns.

This past summer, I worked from home for about two weeks while I had some renovation work completed at the house. I was delighted to discover that a quail family was living in the backyard, and had a brood of 9 tiny, peanut sized quail babies. I watched them run across the yard, eating bugs and birdseed. One morning, I heard a loud commotion, and looking out my window, I saw the two parents next to my pool, and the female frantically pacing back and forth and making loud noises. I ran out and scooped up one small baby quail out of the pool and it ran into the bushes where the rest of its family was hiding.

After our first major monsoon storm of the season, I was crushed to see that only 3 babies remained. Then there were two, and finally only one juvenile quail remained with her parents. The quail parents soldiered on through what I have to believe were clearly disappointments in losing eight of their babies. I still see the three of them in my yard early in the morning, eating their fill so that they can be prepared for the cooler temperatures of winter.

Watching the quail family during the past 5 months has reminded me of how seasons change, how life changes, and how life continues, in the midst of all that change.

Here’s what I learned. 

Change is inevitable. It’s part of life. There are times when we embrace change and there are times when we just want to run away from it – when we want to run away from home.

I’ve learned to acknowledge that change is normal, although I continue to learn how to accept it, especially when it is something I don’t want. Circumstances and events will not always happen the way I want them to, but that won’t stop them from occurring. So when things do happen that I haven’t anticipated and haven’t planned for, I try to consider how I can learn from that experience.

How can I grow from this change or from this circumstance that has occurred?

Can I embrace this change now, and be stronger because of it in the future?

Can accepting this change bring me peace?

Can I use this experience to help others in the future with changes that they experience?

Will you use your life experiences, the changes you’ve seen, the changes you’ve either endured or embraced, to help someone else. Because it is all about loving and caring for each other.

I’m Barb Rankin and this has been stuff I learned yesterday.

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