Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Changing Direction

It does, it takes faith to change directions. The first significant direction changes seem to happen in college as people are deciding on their majors. That one is kind of interesting because for a lot of college grads, several years following graduation, it really doesn't matter what it was that they ended up deciding on while they were in college to where they are now. They would have gotten to that place had they majored in English, marketing, communications, family life whatever and it wouldn't have really mattered, but if you would have asked them back when they were making those decisions, it seemed to mean the whole world.

Sometimes I wonder a little bit what it was like for my parents to decide that they should move to the United States before I was born. Did everyone in a third world country think that way back then? What would that be like to feel that your best chance at happiness consists of moving away from your home and family to a new country where they speak a language that you don't even know? That's what my parents did.

My dad made a couple of reconnaissance trips to the US before deciding to move to lovely Orange Country. It's kind of amazing what he did, saving up $10,000 in Brazil to come out to visit one brother in San Francisco, then another brother down in Laguna Hills. He saved that money back in the 70s when there was a worse global recession than we've seen this century and in a third world country that was far from the economic upturn it would experience in these recent years. It's amazing to me that he did it. And he just came over to the US, moved his family, learned English, and created a successful business all at the same time. Crazy, right? Making that kind of decision to move would require enormous faith and he made it work. It came with some costs, but in the end, neither of my parents have ever looked back and never plan on going back to Brazil, so content they are with their lives in this country, even if they have had some rough patches.

So for me, I guess it's not anything close to the same magnitude to decide that applying to business school was a better option than finishing out my Phd program. It adds another year, will add some debt, but after talking with some people in that program and that have also graduated from it, it sounds like a really great opportunity, not only for what the program itself is like, but for what types of jobs are available post-graduation. So we'll see what happens with that.

And I guess even a few years earlier, it was a pretty big move for me to leave my job, go back to school, and leave the comfort of California to come back out to Utah, a place that was familiar to me at one time, but wholly new in other important ways. It took some time to start up my new life out here, but obviously that was one of the best decisions that I have ever made.

I wonder what keeps certain people in their holding patterns. I know one person who is in a job that she has already outgrown and offers no future career prospects, living in a place where she feels like she hasn't met anybody new, but still can't seem to steer herself into a new direction in any capacity. Everyone outside of her has been encouraging her to move, to do something different, and Amy even forwarded her a job position that seemed to be a great fit, only to have her turn all of it down for the status quo, which in her more honest moments, she'll admit that she's far from content.

Sometimes major upheaval is necessary. It's interesting to think about the times when I've grown the most have always coincided with when I've had the most significant changes. Sometimes it means a makeover. Buy new clothes. Get a new job. Move somewhere. Get a new haircut. Go back to school.

The great thing is that the gospel invites and encourages change all the time. The invitation is always there to reorient ourselves and point ourselves back to the Lord, and sometimes that means just giving ourselves a new perspective so that we can see him better.


Shelli said...

I'm so impressed with the amount of courage it takes those that are willing to make those magnificent leaps into the unknown hoping for something better.

I thought you were talking to me, until you mentioned Amy sending your friend a job link. I'm in the exact same position. I do apply for new jobs all the time, but I don't put a lot of effort into it, thinking that "if it's meant to be..."

Sigh. Some of us are just cowards when it comes to change, even if we aren't content where we are.

Amy Silva said...

If we aren't willing to make significant changes to improve our lives, we'll miss out on significant blessings. It really is amazing what your parent's did. That would be a huge sacrifice, but I'm grateful for every scary life change that brought me my wise, wise husband!

Silvs said...

Sorry, Shelli. I should clarify in a post sometime about this, but I make it a point to not write specifically about anyone that might be reading this blog unless it's in a obvious flattering way.

I should also say that I don't mean to imply that sometimes staying in place and not making a change does also sometimes require faith, and sometimes that's the right move. Sometimes staying in a marriage that's very difficult is the act of faith. Or like the saints in foreign countries who are staying to try and establish the Church is also very faith filled.

But it usually seems like it's the case that making the change is the one that is the act of faith, not standing still.

Plus, my wife is a sweetheart, no? I sure do like her.

Silvs said...

I meant to say "does not also sometimes require some faith."

Lisa said...

I'm impressed with your parents courage and faith, Chris. Neat to hear your feelings on that. When I look back I wonder if I've gone through any big changes -- and realize my life is full of them and that we've welcomed them as they've given us so many opportunities and blessings. So jealous my hubby got to hang out with you guys for a couple nights!