Thursday, October 18, 2012

The up side of change

“Our dilemma is that we hate change and love it at the same time; what we really want is for things to remain the same but get better.” – Sydney J. Harris (1917 -1986)

When I read this quote by the late American journalist and columnist, Sydney J. Harris, I felt as though it had been personally written for me. My resistance to change is a source of amusement for my family and friends. Just last week my Tuesday night dinner buddy, Emma turned up with a bottle of wine, an apologetic look on her face… and an iPhone in her hand.

Prior to Tuesday last week Emma and I had prided ourselves with our resistance to “smart phones”, clinging faithfully to our identical Nokia 6120 mobile phones. They made phone calls and sent text messages and in our opinion had a better range than any of the newer mobile phones, so why change?

The week before I was due to fly to England my little Nokia 6120 started making buzzy static-y noises when I was speaking to people and then switching itself off at random moments during the day – not a good thing when it’s your work phone and you run your own business. The thought of buying a new phone and having to learn how to use it, days before flying away on an excellent adventure filled me with dread.

Very quickly I found a solution that would involve minimal change. Another friend (also named Em) had already crossed over to the dark side; she’d bought an iPhone a few months earlier but still held a significant collection of Nokia 6120s. By that evening I had my new secondhand Nokia and spent nearly an hour or so transferring all the contacts, wallpaper and even my Creedence Clearwater Revival ringtone from my old phone to the new one.

You have no idea how relieved I was to have my almost identical replacement phone to accompany me to England… they say a change is as good as a holiday but I say, a holiday is preferable to a change.

Like everyone else since the dawn of time, my life is constantly filled with change. Many changes are subtle and happen almost subconsciously with minimal resistance on my part. Big life changes that feel forced upon me out of left field are the ones I resist the most; a battle of wills I inevitably lose.

Paradoxically these big life changes that feel out of my control, are often the ones that in retrospect have propelled my life forward and opened up incredible opportunities and experiences I hadn’t dreamt of. They have, (dare I say it?), made my life better.

Change is scary; it involves leaving what you know and what feels safe, for the unknown. In my experience, when I want to move forward and have a richer, more interesting life, then I need to push the boundaries and spend at least some of my time outside my comfort zone.

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