Coping with changes

Published 10:00pm Saturday, June 7, 2014

It’s hard to get through life without facing changes at some point or another. Graduating, moving back home and starting a new job all within a few days that was a change I wasn’t quite prepared for.

First off, I hate change. I understand that it’s inevitable, and sometimes it’s even for the better, but I still don’t like it. The only change I like is changing my wardrobe or make-up. As a result, I’ve become quite weepy. Not really around people and not over any of the changes, but when I’m in my car alone and a song starts playing about something remotely emotional I can’t stop it. The most recent offender was “Ragged Old Flag” by Johnny Cash.

The biggest adjustment has been that after a long day at work, I can’t just call up my friends and have an impromptu movie night. Our favorite movie to watch was “Horrible Bosses.” We used to quote different scenes to each other regardless of their relevance. I watched it last week, and it wasn’t quite the same without the shared laughter.

Not all changes have been bad, though. My long-distance relationship went from three hours to one. I haven’t had to eat ramen or macaroni and cheese in a month. Not having to pay rent this past week was also fabulous.

Other things have stayed the same, more or less. Instead of my friends coming over without any forewarning, J.T., my six-year-old brother, likes to come in my room, invited or not.

Also, I have never been so thankful for technology. Between group messages and Snapchat, it’s almost like we never left Starkville. Instead of us being spread between Brookhaven, Greenville, Huntsville, Starkville and, even Germany, we are sitting in my living room. We are cheering on our Bulldogs. We are living our separate lives, but we’re doing it together.

So when Joseph got into the University of Richmond’s Law School, we were able to at least bask in his excitement. When Rachel moved into her new apartment, pictures came flooding. When Farrah traveled to Switzerland, we heard the stories.

I know as time goes on, the text messages and phone calls will become a little more sporadic. We’ll find friends in our new homes and become less homesick for Starkville. But hopefully, like my close friends from high school, will find a rhythm, so we’re there for the big moments.

For any high school graduates looking ahead to changes, it’s OK to be scared and it’s OK to be excited. Go out there and make new friends. You’ll have the opportunity to meet people who come from all different backgrounds. You’ll meet people who come from places you’ve never even heard of.

Talk, talk to everyone and then listen. It can be scary; I get that fear. Unless I have a reason to talk to someone, I don’t. I can be shy, particularly in large groups. But each perspective you hear, each viewpoint different from your own that you take the time to consider, even if you decide you don’t agree, makes you a more well-rounded person.

Some of my favorite nights were staying up and talking to people with completely different opinions. Calm, intelligent conversations, where concessions can be made and idealism runs rampant, that is where compromise is achieved. That is where a greater understanding of your neighbor comes from.

Julia V. Pendley is the lifestyles editor of The Daily Leader. You may email her at or mail a letter to her at Julia V. Pendley, Lifestyles Editor, P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven, MS 39602-0551.