Fear of Change – Becoming a Canadian Citizen

I sat in the row next to my husband and seventy-eight other people from 26 countries waiting to become Canadian citizens and I had the fleeting thought that I wasn’t worthy.

Canadian Citizenship

“I haven’t been to Manitoba.”

“I have only seen a puffin in pictures.”

“I don’t know the words to ‘God Save the Queen.'”

These were the thoughts going through my head. For some reason, I believed that if I had been to Manitoba or spotted a puffin, I would be worthy to take the oath and receive a certificate granting me citizenship.


Does anyone else do this?

I’m amazed at the stories that go through my head. It was as if my brain was searching for any reason to pull the brakes on the ceremony. As if the judge in the front of the room was going to call for me to be escorted out of the room. The building. The country.

As you can see, I was about to have a full blown panic attack instead of enjoying the moment I was adopted by another country.

Becoming a Canadian Citizen - Adapting to Change - Tell Better Stories

We always ask ourselves if we are ready. Am I comfortable enough to move forward? Am I fully prepared to step through the door into the unknown? Do I know enough? Have enough money? Friends? Poutine?

The thing about change is that we are never ready. We never have enough knowledge, understanding or cupcakes. The challenge seems overwhelming and our skills under par.

Change happens. We adapt to the new and uncomfortable until the uncomfortable and the new aren’t so uncomfortable or new. When the new feeling, label, status, city and relationship becomes normal.

This happens with loss, moving, graduating and, yes, new citizenship.

I took the oath. I sang “O, Canada.” I became a Canadian citizen. No one asked me about my puffin experience or to describe Manitoba. I wasn’t escorted out of the room. I wasn’t thrown out of the building.

Becoming a Canadian Citizen

Truth of it is, my question of being unworthy was in the stories I told myself. Stories born out of fear caused by change.

Perhaps focusing on the moment, living in the present and believing in the positive, I will shift from fear of change to excitement in the unknown.

Fear and excitement are opposite sides of the same coin that change flips before the game.

I’m still learning.

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