Ch-ch-ch-changes.

Who can forget the song, "I am Changing" from Dream Girls? Jennifer Hudson's powerful voice extols the excitement and hope in the decision to bring big changes to her life. We feel like grabbing a microphone and belting out our own rendition at the top of our lungs. Yet in reality, one of the things that cause us turmoil is change. We balk at the thought of things being different today than they were yesterday. We resist getting older. We want our partners to stay the same as our perceptions of them. We have a hard time when our kids start becoming their own people. We have to say good-bye to those we want to hang onto. "No! No, I can't let this happen," is typically our first response.

Yet, there is no way to hang on to life as it is today. Without a doubt, tomorrow will be different. No two breaths are the same. Your body feels different from moment to moment. Your emotions run the gamut from content to discontent in a second. We may be rushed and harried getting out of the house, settled down at our desks, laughing hysterically at a Maxine joke someone sent to us, saddened by reading about Natasha Richardson's death, angry that our partner isn't going to make it home in time to pick up the kids. There is no way to hang onto the emotions that bring us happiness. Luckily, there is no way to stay sad or upset forever. Whatever it is, "this, too, will pass."

You will certainly age. Hopefully, with grace. You will certainly experience some form of ill health. The flu, digestive disorders, migraines, psoriasis, broken bones. Perhaps, even heart disease or cancer. Our bodies are vulnerable. And ultimately we will all leave this world through the process of dying. There is absolutely no way to avoid any of these changes.

The only choice we have is how to respond to change. Some changes will bring us to a better place in life. Some changes will challenge us and bring us pain. How we behave in the face of all the changes determines the quality of our lives. The most important decision we have in any situation is to choose what to say or how to behave.

Nothing will stay the same. Only you can decide how to live your life.
In all things, be gentle.

With a smile,
Diane Strausser