Photo by Molly Belle

Change has affected the way I live, for better and for worse. We live in a Yelp-review-based-world where planning is part of the norm, making it easy for us to know what to expect. While change can benefit us, it can also cause uncertainties and with uncertainty comes anxiety, when things may not go according to plan. Change can also help us grow and transform our lives in incredibly powerful and self-healing ways. With that, I’ll dive into how change has affected my life and how I’ve learned to embrace all facets of the inevitability of life’s uncertainties.

I recently listened to my friend Anne Therese’s new podcast called “Hey Change” where she talks about embracing all of life’s uncertainties and filling your heart up with the unknown. She talked about growing up and how averse she was to any change, whether it be her mother deciding to change their Christmas decorations one year or to a relationship that didn’t go according to plan.

Eventually, something inside her switched when she realized the possibility of a happier life if she accepted the bumps in the road instead of fighting against them.

She began embracing change and realized she was a lot happier accepting that what life throws at us isn’t always planned.

As I listened to the podcast, it sparked something inside me and touched a nerve as I’ve been grappling with some similar issues recently. I used to be relatively carefree and spontaneous where friends would describe me as one who could easily go with the flow. When I started modeling, I began to realize that while I was once someone who was down for a change, the last-minuteness of our modeling schedules became something hard for me to adjust to. Typically, we get our schedules for the next day around 6 pm the night before, so I can never make any plans until after that time because I never know if I am working, jumping on a flight or completely free the next day. It made me anxious in all facets of my life, and I began to consciously see how I was changing with this new lifestyle.

In addition to my uneasiness from my work schedule, which at first brought on tears and uncontrollable anxiety at any last minute casting, or job I booked, or a friend’s birthday party I had to cancel the day before, it began to affect other areas of my life where change used to be accepted.

Within the past five years, I now plan every detail for each trip (down to the drinks I plan on having with my boyfriend on the beach). When hanging out with friends, I look at the menu to decide exactly what I am going to order and I may even work out in my head things I can talk about or how the conversations may evolve. I schedule every minute of my “off-duty” time so that when something changes in my work schedule, I can easily adapt. But with this, I started to notice (as my parents, boyfriend, and friends can attest) that while planning and scheduling in advance are okay, my attitude if things happened to change was not so good. I would (and continue) to pick my cuticles endlessly in stressed-out situations where things have the possibility of changing, traveling can be quite difficult. On vacation, if my boyfriend doesn’t feel like going to one of the restaurants that I pre-booked (yes I book multiple restaurants for each night), I found myself getting mad at him. And in these certain scenarios where change may occur, I would sometimes start crying because it was too much for me to handle. I had an idea of how something was about to go and couldn’t see the beauty in anything that differed from my plan.

While listening to Anne Therese’s podcast, I realized that change is hard for almost everyone and that there can be beauty in accepting the inevitable. On recent trips to Japan and London, both of which were extensively and stressfully planned day-by-day,

I slowly realized with change, and spontaneity often comes adventure and happiness.

For me, I realize it’s important to have a certain amount of structure, as my work life provides little to none, but I’ve found it’s also crucial to living in the moment. If you see a restaurant that looks good, that isn’t on your list, and you haven’t checked Yelp for reviews, it’s okay to try it out! In Tokyo, we stumbled across so many restaurants, bars, and temples that weren’t even on Yelp but that often overshadowed those that were pre-booked. In addition to travel, if you think of a new career path for your future that isn’t quite what you envisioned, take that risk and find beauty in the new possibilities that may come from welcoming the change.

That leads me to my next point—how change has led to positivity in my life. I recently became fascinated with sustainability, especially sustainability in fashion. A few years into modeling I realized the fashion industry couldn’t be good for our Earth. I witnessed first-hand how much waste there is with leftover and unused fabrics. I began to read up on the destruction caused by fast-fashion; the buying and selling of cheap, trendy, clothing that lasts no longer than a few wears (if that) before getting tossed into our landfills. I knew something had to change once I realized I was more part of the problem—I knew I had to be a bigger part of the solution.

To make my change, I wanted to take what I’ve learned and am continuing to learn and start something positive. As a former shopaholic teenager, I never envisioned a life or a future in sustainability and fashion. I welcomed the idea of changing my habits and creating a company that would spread awareness to others. From that, ODM/ODC (Off Duty Model, On Duty Citizen) was born. ODM/ODC is a website that encompasses all facets of my life, from health and wellness to sustainable practices and ethical brands. We sell clothing that has the “off-duty model look”; think stylish basics that never go out of style that all the models wear when they’re off duty. We profile companies that are transparent and sustainable in their practices and give models a platform to talk about their off-duty activities and charitable work. The off-duty women who wear our clothes are aspiring to become on duty citizens of the world, and there is more than enough room for this sustainable, motivated tribe of women to grow.

This change that occurred in my life was never part of the “plan.” But I slowly began to realize that simply wishing the world would become greener or that more people would take on healthier practices would never come from wishful thinking. It would come from direct action, a spark if you will, that would inspire others to change their habits, change their mindsets and collectively start a fire.

While I am by no means an expert on sustainability or climate justice, I’ve chosen to take the risk of starting my own company because I believe if I can inspire one person to become a conscious consumer, it may lead to reducing their carbon footprint or to embracing a healthy lifestyle. In addition to the change in my hobbies and mindsets, I’m learning to accept change in my personal life and recognize the beauty in life’s uncertainties. Here’s to opening our hearts and filling our souls with the unknown.

At Conscious, we are inspired by stories that cause us to think differently and think big-picture, and so we set out to tell stories with the help of leaders and influencers within the social good community. You can read more stories like this when you join as a member.