Voluntary change

“Why am I so resistant to change, mom?” my younger one asked me. She is the least open to new experiences when compared with my other daughter and myself, who don’t mind a bit of a deviation from routine now and then. This 13-year-old, however, finds it very stressful to even walk on the other side of the road on the way to school if it isn’t part of her daily route.

“Maybe because your mind has come to associate change as negative. A lot of very large changes in your life have been quite difficult and traumatic for you, and things must have seemed out of your control,” I said. She agreed with that. So I went on.

“But you can look for and find the change that was good for you. You can change your attitude to change. And besides, life is going to change anyway, you may as well make it proactive change instead of something that happens to you.”

I gave her some examples from my life: “At first there was just one magazine, and even that was too much to handle. Then my company got two, and it felt like we’d just fall apart. But we got used to it — and then suddenly there were three. And now I have the faith that soon we’ll be used to this too. It’s the same with our home. I was petrified of moving out of nani-nanu’s house. But I did it, and managed to survive. And then uncle moved in next door, and I thought we’d all just explode with all the pressure of these new relationships, and I suddenly had so much work. But we got past that and I managed to find some time for myself. And now we’ve got these dogs, which is a whole lot more work and drains us all further. But if we look back and see how much we’ve grown, we’ll be unafraid of taking on any more now. It just takes a couple of months for humans to get used to any new situation.”

She nodded with all the sagacity of a teen. “It is better to make change than have change make us,” I said to her. “Try to take on more and more in your life voluntarily, and you’ll find yourself grown at the end of it. That way you’re in tune with nature, which wants the same for you — it will thrust change on you anyway to encourage you to grow.”

She mumbled a little about still not wanting to change her walking route to school but I could see her smile as she turned back to watch a rerun of Honey I Shrunk the Kids on TV, patting Miyake’s golden head at her feet.

I, now, will go tackle a pile of three books my man has chosen for me to read — one is a biography of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the second is an impressive work of fiction by Roberto Bolano and the third is William Dalrymple’s new release. Plenty of growth and change to happen tonight, as I ignore the clock and snuggle into a heaven of words.


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