It is time for Change!

Some people welcome change, while others defy it.  Change is happening all around us, it is part of our lives and part of the world that we live in.  We sometimes have advance notice of change that is about to occur, sometimes it happens unexpectedly.  Whichever way it comes, it is our responsibility to adapt to it.  Change is part of the evolution and progression of our lives.  When we do not accept the changes that are presented to us, they become obstacles.  These obstacles impede or change the paths of our lives, sometimes they could even lead to regrets.


I am sure that we could all think of at least one time, when we were presented with a situation that required us to change from the normality, that we were accustomed to.  The way that you handled this change, definitely, had a consequence on your lives, from that point forth.  The decisions that were made could have had positive or negative impact on our future.  Often these decisions are very difficult or complex and perhaps, unpleasant.  It is these changes that determine the path that we take in our lives.  We often hear about clichés that speak of the road less traveled or the quickest distance between two points is a straight line, but in reality how true are these clichés.  The obvious is not always the correct answer, but more commonly accepted.  It is part of human nature to seek acceptance.  It is often the questionable decisions that sometimes produced the most accomplishment.


Let’s take an example, in my personal life, my wife and I have had to make several life altering changes.  One of the most noticeable ones, that I could recall is the relocation from New York to South Carolina.  We were both born and raised in Queens, New York.  Our families and closest friends were also up north.  After my retirement from the Police Department and my health continually failing, we had to make a harsh decision whether to continue to struggle in the Big Apple or perhaps move to someplace more affordable.  We started our search for a new place to call home and immediately thought about staying within the tri-state area, in order to remain close to our family and friends.  It seems as though everyone else had the same idea and therefore the markets were extremely overpriced.  We then expanded our search further out than what we originally had hoped for and sought what was available to us.  Besides affordability, some of the other factors that we took into account were job potential for my wife, climate and quality of life.  As most New Yorkers do, Florida was one of our first choices.  After spending a week in Orlando, we immediately decided that we did not want to deal with the humidity and the fact that the prices were starting to increase due to the demand.  Eventually, after months of brainstorming and research we started to focus on the Carolinas.  Luckily for me, my ex partner in the Police Department had been living in Charlotte for almost 12 years.  When we finally decided to come down and look at the area, he graciously opened his doors to his home and actually drove us around to different parts of town. Charlotte was experiencing an extreme building boom.  In the downtown area, all you could see was tall buildings surrounded by cranes, constructing new buildings. Charlotte was also a large banking and financial city, which was perfect for my wife’s occupation.


We actually drove down on two separate occasions, to get a better feel, before making a decision.  We were about to totally change our environment and surroundings that we had known for the past 35 years.  At the same time, we look at our life in the past and saw that we had not made much progress or growth.  The harsh winters also limited my lifestyle, because I was easily prone to get colds and ultimately worsen my heart condition.  I remember actually taken a piece of paper and writing down the pros and cons of this move.  The pros overwhelmingly outweighed the cons, but there was one big factor that was not considered and that was “fear”; the fear of leaving the place that we both grew up in and leaving all our family, friends, colleagues and acquaintances, behind.  There was also the fear of failure and possible rejection.  One of the big motivators for this move was the fact that we would actually be able to own our first home and pay less for the mortgage, then what we were currently paying rent for a one bedroom apartment.  When making a decision of this magnitude it is often stressful and exasperating.  When we turned to our family and friends for advice, we received a contradicting array of opinions.  A portion of these opinions were powered by emotions and not facts.  The idea of not having us close by was disturbing to some, mostly family members.  They did not clearly see the benefits of our move and that we would ultimately be better off in the long run.  I do not blame them for their naïveté, but it did not make it easy on us.  Finally my wife and I came to the conclusion, that this was our life to live and that we needed to do what was in our best interest.  Everyone else had their choice to decide what they wanted to do, this was our decision ultimately.  I clearly remember on our drive down, we stopped at a rest area and my wife and I were so excited about our new venture, but at the same time there was a noticeable hesitation.  I remember giving my wife a warm embrace and telling her,” there is no turning back, now.”  Luckily, we did not allow other people to influence or stop our progress.  Today, we have been living here for five years and could not be happier.  I honestly wish that I would have moved here a long time ago, but things happen for a reason.


Unfortunately, we sometimes let these outside influences keep us from making the choices that we desire.  It is necessary to take risks and explore new possibilities.  Those who do not experience change, often end up living a life that becomes stagnant.  It is never too late to change.  I once had the pleasure of meeting a doctor at St. Luke’s hospital, in New York’s upper West side.  He was actually treating a patient that was assaulted and we were the escorting officers, who were assigned to this job.  After he thoroughly examined the patient, he signed the discharge papers and smiled and told us that we could go back to our meal break.  He mentioned that he had known a lot of cops from his previous occupation.  Without hesitation, I asked him, “What did you do before becoming a doctor?”  He smirked and answered that he was a trial attorney.  I honestly thought that he was joking, but he quickly reassured me that he was not.  This Dr. was previously a practicing lawyer, before he realized that he did not like his current occupation.  He then went back to school and decided to become a physician.  In my head, I was trying to figure out how much time did this guy actually spend in college.  He quickly read my mind and said,” I have been in college for almost 12 years.”  I was astounded by his decision to change careers, after having completed such demanding coursework program and seemed to be in his mid-to late 40s.  In reality, the thing that impressed me the most was his determination and will to make that decision.  Most people often complain and give you reasons, why things cannot be done, this man was not happy with his current decision, so he made a necessary change.


Today, with the current state of the economy, you see a lot more people were forced to change their career paths, despite their age.  People who have spent the majority of their career in banking or mortgage industries, have now gone back to school to start new careers in the health care and technology industries.  Regrettably, this change is necessary to provide descent living for their families and themselves.  If given the option, I am sure that most of these people would not have opted to change careers in the midst of their lives; but sometimes necessity opens the doors and possibilities.  The point here is very simple, they can continue to struggle and hope to find placement in their old industry or take on a new vocation and perhaps excel at something new.  Tom Krause, a motivational speaker and teacher was quoted as saying the following,” There are no failures-just experiences and your reaction to” and Frederick Smith, founder and CEO of FedEx said, “fear of failure must never be the reason not to try something”.  These two quotes show that failure does not need to be such a defeat, but perhaps a lesson of wisdom, that will enable us to achieve new levels.


If you have been putting off a decision that can possibly improve your life, stop hesitating and start formulating your next triumph.  Stop making excuses for reasons why it cannot be done and start looking forward to the incentive of the accomplishment.  Change is inevitable and the sooner you act upon it, the closer you will be to your reward.  Clear yourself from all the negativity that stands in your way, and clear your path towards your endeavor.  Once you reach your goal,  you will feel empowered and wonder what took you so long.  May all your journeys be filled with great accolades and gains!


2 Responses to It is time for Change!

  • Jason says:

    Love it. I think you need to add one thing though. When we are reading the article there should be a little Michael Jackson- I’m starting with the man in the mirror- playing in the background. See ya later Big Dog….

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German (Sal) & Milja Saldarriaga
Fort Mill, SC

I am available for lectures, consulting, life coaching, motivational speaking, interviews and appearances.

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My Life Experience

  • Retired New York City police officer
  • coping with heart disease since 1996
  • had defibrillator/pacemaker implanted in Oct 2003
  • had Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) implanted in September 2009
  • Received heart transplant September 2010.
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