“Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.” – C.S. Lewis

Have you ever gone biking down the street and noticed that you were pedaling harder than usual? As you heaved and puffed, turning pedals that seemed to be made out of lead, you finally looked down and found that a nail had caused your front tire to go flat.

It’s a normal occurrence to hit those bumps in the road we call life. In some ways, that is exactly how my new year has started.

I can say that 2013 has not made the usual smooth transition I have experienced in past years. In fact, I have already found a few nails on my path.

Change is a word we hear often, though many times, we cringe at the sound of it. In some cases, change can look negative on the outside, but when we adjust our thinking, we realize that what is being created is something new and beautiful.

I have experienced some big changes since January. I started my second semester of college, and was met with a much more demanding curriculum.

I’ve also learned that close family friends, who have become like a second family to me, will be moving to the Midwest soon.

And on top of all that, my family has recently been certified to be foster parents.

Now don’t misinterpret that all life changes are negative. In fact, many changes are positive. It’s the “difference” that scares us. Just because things are different, doesn’t always mean they are bad. However, a time of change also brings a time of adjustment and learning.

I will greatly miss my dear friends. I will forever appreciate the impact they have made in my life, and the time and energy that they have bestowed on me.

But I am excited for the other changes. I am grateful for the opportunity to learn and to go to school.

I am also excited to be able to invest in a child’s life through the foster care system. It will be an adjustment, but it will be a blessing. To think that my family will learn, grow and be able to help make a positive change in a child’s life is simply extraordinary.

To be honest, I think that for many of us to accept change, we first have to come to terms that life is all about change. Nothing was ever accomplished until someone decided to change something about themselves.

Last March, President Obama stated: “Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”

Life will always send challenges our way to test our willingness to change; and there comes a point when we must be ready to accept the challenge. Change will not hold back, and neither does life.

So I’ll count my blessings, continue making memories and keep investing in the lives of others.

When life puts a nail in your bike tire, remember that this obstacle could ultimately do more good than you think. But no matter how long of a journey stands in front of you, take the time you have to enjoy the things around you – the people, places and things – because at the end of the day, change can work in your favor. But only if you let it.