I’ve been a champion of change for quite some time. Maybe always. Five to seven years is my grown up benchmark for Major Change. When I was ten or so, I remember going to sleep and waking up the next morning completely uninterested in what had fascinated me just the day before. I also recall thinking deeply about the mystery of hobbies. How could anyone possibly stay interested in calligraphy, stamp collecting, model building, or bird watching long enough to achieve some sort of success? My pursuits were quick and messy. If a recipe called for chilling dough in the refrigerator for an hour – forget it – I would blop my concoction warm and slippery into a pan and bake it anyway. Let varnish dry for 24 hours? Let’s try 10 minutes, and hope for the best. I was never a perfectionist, but my elementary school years were fast paced and ever varying. I tried to keep up the pace all through til just about now. Travel! College! Different jobs! More college! New profession! Babies!
And right on schedule, the chance to change things up quite a bit by living in England for half a year was well timed. I’m a fan of leaving the party before you’ve made a fool of yourself and everyone wishes you would go home already. And leaving California to arrive in the very old and established environment of The British Isles was a wild way of embracing change by taking on a culture that abhors just that. Change.
The juxtaposition of disparate and unlikely companions interests me. So as I viewed England and its ancient and historic past, I felt always drawn to the details that indicated the reality of the present before it was historic: the scratchings by a prisoner on the stone wall of a dank dungeon buried below majestic castle walls; artfully placed rocks layered like a mosaic revealing a pride of creation within an otherwise utilitarian enclosure on a remote pasture; meticulously perfect hand stitching on the seam of a garment worn hundreds of years ago – these were evident markers of humans who participated in the world’s history, and left little hints of the people who lived lives shaped by constant change: births, deaths, famines, droughts, fires, sieges, and wars.
Probably it would be safe to say that most changes are not welcome because they have not been initiated by the one who is affected most by the different outcome. Enforced change is a scary situation. Change is most welcome and even exhilarating when it is taken on voluntarily.
Children both love and hate change. The possibility of newness each day brings becomes almost a necessity to some children. I recall when my son asked me once, after having played with a new action figure for about an hour, “Mommy? Is this toy still new?” What a strange question I thought at the time, and I certainly don’t recall what I answered. Looking back now and knowing that his wiring was for continual change and novelty in order to keep his very bright brain engaged, I know now that “Is this toy still new?” really is the question, “Am I normal because I’m already bored with this thing I wanted so badly just an hour ago?” And the answer for him now is “Yes and no. Yes it’s new, and no, it’s not – to you. Because you move so quickly and need so much variety that the world is hardly big enough to change fast enough to keep up with your very curious mind.”
Change is scary, change is puzzling, change is unavoidable. Just start the process of change before it controls and scares you. Cheers?