I met my sister down in the bustling center of Chelsea Market. We walked around, and shopped, and picked things up and put them down. We discussed whether felt hats are a little bit too ridiculous for 28 year olds, and whether a gold or a silver candle would make a better birthday present. We asked each other whether this shirt was prettier than that one, and whether we'd tasted the individual pizzas at Amy's Bread ("me too!"), and determined that one of us doesn't like hazelnuts, despite how many nights we ate entire jars of Nutella together (out of the jar with a spoon) on our couch.
We don't live together anymore, but we pretty much always live in each others heads. We can go three months without seeing each other, and I can still tell you which bread she will pick for a snack, and which birthday card makes her laugh the most in the bookstore.
Just like the best people in our lives, we still have new, separate things to share, despite how similar we are. This time, we talked about changing, and how hard it can be. I told her something I've been working on lately. Let's call it "the and/but test", or, "how to stay calm", or even, "just do what you want". The idea is that maybe a lot of the problems in our lives can be solved by a shift in thinking. Think of problems you have -- often they take the form of "I want to do one thing, but I can't" or "I keep doing this thing, but I should be doing this other thing".
Change "but" with "and", and suddenly your problem becomes a question. "I want to take a trip, and I have to work." Okay, figure out how to make both happen, instead of assuming you have to choose between them.
Like anything, this isn't a universal fix or truth, but it helps immensely to calm yourself and worry less. Now I don't spend my days wishing I could change, or act differently. I just add instead of subtract. I keep doing what I've been doing, but I also layer in something new.