turn and face the strange changes

    My daughter hates my new hair color, whatever color it is—the newness an issue more than the color. Heaven forbid I move a chair or swap furniture between rooms; my husband has a fit. Some people will suffer for years with that devil-they-know of a job or spouse they despise, rather than deal with looking for a potentially less-painful—but possibly more fabulous and probably way better—career or lover.

    It seems that most people hate the idea of change even more than the actual change. (Contrary to my beliefs, a candidate did run and win on the promise of change, but perhaps everyone knew nothing would really change but the president’s skin color.) Granted, divorce sucks. But what if your husband or wife sucks, too? What if he or she makes only a nasty, negative contribution to your life? Imagine someone more loving waiting in the wings. Someone surely is.

    But I’m not talking about the changes brought on by tragedy; rather, it’s the tiny ones, cosmetic or functional ones, so-called improvements, that seem to get everyone’s knickers in a bunch—your wife ran out of cheese and had to pack you a different sandwich, your usual bank teller is sick, a website is redesigned (with many of your previous complaints fixed).

    I thrive on change. I like the freshness of it. I like new seasons, new responsibilities and opportunities, a different routine. I can’t eat leftovers for three days, antsy for a new dish. My iPod is on perpetual shuffle, and my favorite artist of all time, David Bowie, is a musical chameleon. My photography is random: flowers, dogs, rock bands, food—sometimes in the same day. I try new beers all the time. My hair is curly one day, ironed flat the next. And my thoughts, as you can probably tell, are all over the place.

    I love waking up to a completely different paint color now and again, even if I enjoyed the last color for a decade—especially if I enjoyed the last color for a decade! It’s only paint.

    I used to let my hair grow for two years, then get it chopped off short. A hairdresser I know refused to cut it because he was worried it would be too drastic and I’d blame him. My best friend for twenty years never once altered the way she wore hers. It’s only hair!

    Some people hate change so much they won’t even change their minds, despite their being presented with new evidence, as if stubbornness equaled righteousness, correctness, or, sometimes, cuteness.

    If we take death and devastation off the table and talk about rearranging some furniture or trying a new hairstyle or replacing a bad habit with a good one or getting out of that rut you’ve been spinning your wheels in for years, what’s the worry? Even fitness experts tell you to change your exercise routine after three weeks.

    What little, or great big, thing have you been dying to change, stopped only by fear? And what is it you fear? And what will you change-fearers change today?

    C’mon. Change is gonna do you good.*

    – – – – – –

    *For a beer on me next time I see you, if you’re old enough, and without searching for the answer, what 1970s song has “change is gonna do you good” as a lyric?

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    1. Cybergabi July 22, 2010 at 4:50 pm #

      I love change. Always did. Bring it on.

      I'm rather guilty of the opposite – not sticking around. After all, I'm living in my second country and fifth city within 20 years, my fourth adult long-term relationship, and my 7th job in 12 years.

      Apart from the relationship which I don't mean to change again, everything is possible on short notice.

      As I said: Bring it on.

    2. Belinda July 23, 2010 at 12:42 am #

      I love this piece of writing…
      eyes wide open.

      I'm both ways….
      Middle age brought the life-is-short realization… that will change everything….

    3. Richard Gilbert July 23, 2010 at 5:56 pm #

      Great rant, Leslie. I admit I'm change-phobic but know better–creativity flows from it . . .

    4. Kim Hosey July 23, 2010 at 5:56 pm #

      Well said.

      Sometimes I think I do the worst of both sides. I'm so bad at embracing change at times, but then if I don't have fresh newness all the time I get distracted and depressed. My husband, on the other hand, hates all manner of change, always. At least, he thinks he does. Still, when I colored my hair, he loved it.

    5. jo(e) July 25, 2010 at 7:33 pm #

      I admit that I'm one of those people who is afraid of change. Yes, I still wear my hair the way I did 30 years ago ….

      For the last couple of New Year's, one of my resolutions has been to embrace change in my life. My kids are getting older fast so change is happening whether I want it or not.

    6. The Napkin Dad July 26, 2010 at 12:25 pm #

      David Bowie's 'Changes' is the song.
      Nothing makes me more frustrated and crazy than having to deal with anti-changers non-stop. The illusion that you can actually not have change in your life is a fallacy and those who live under that illusion add years of worry and fear to a life that could have been lived with joy and fun.

      Of course there are changes that happen incrementally, we grow old slowly, our faces changing day to day in a way we don't even notice. Then we wake up one day and we look a bit older.

      Funny, I used to think my kids' school years were so enmeshed in change all the time. Now that they are all out of the house I realize that time was about as changeless as life will offer…and it changed all the time!

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