By Brenda J. Thomas, Ph.D.

change-lAs I leave 2015 behind I am filled with gratitude and joy for all the wonderful things that have happened in my life this year. Most notably I am pleased to have had the opportunity to spend quality time with family and friends. Most of these friends were women that I had worked with during my career in the corporate world and some of them I had not seen in many years. It was wonderful to find out what was going on with everybody. We had hours of conversation about the ups and downs we had encountered, our thoughts and aspirations and our plans for the future.

A common theme that surfaced at these gatherings of multigenerational women was the desire for change. It appeared that everyone was exploring some type of transition. Several of the boomers were dealing with elder care issues and were contemplating new living arrangements for aging parents that would require a change in location for their parents or for them. One woman had retired from her corporate job and was considering starting her own business. Another was finishing a degree in a field totally unrelated to the one in which she worked and was looking forward to a new work life experience. For some the change being explored was that of how they looked at the world and their place in it.

A millennium young woman was torn between staying on a job that she had mastered or searching for a new job that would be more challenging and position her for advancement. There were also changes in relationships. Women who had been married were now divorced. And there were other women who had found new love via the internet and the power of online dating. Some were dealing with the challenges that come with new family members or the loss of family or friends and the changes that this caused.

The prospect of having to make a change can be a scary thing, especially when we don’t know if what is on the other side is going to be better than where we are now. To move from the familiar to the unknown can cause stress and frustration. Or it can be exciting and energizing. Sometimes we have to take a leap of faith to move forward in search of a brighter tomorrow. I am reminded of my first job after graduating from college. I was a supervisor in a manufacturing plant.   When I was given the job I was terrified at the prospect of managing people who were much older and more experienced. However, as it turned out it was one of the best experiences of my career. And the change from student to manager was less daunting than I had imagined it would be.

This year I plan approach change with a positive attitude. I am making a commitment to myself to not be limiting. To reflect on all the good that has happened for my family, friends and myself. It is so easy for me to talk myself out of something for fear of failure. I choose not to do that in 2016. My mantra for the year is to be open to change and expect that good will result from it. I will approach every day with joy and gratitude and think of change as a way to renew, refresh and to become a better me.