Saturday, October 15, 2011

Past Deadline: The Perils of Change

Change is part of life. That doesn’t mean we have to like it, though, and I think most people don’t. Perhaps some more than others.

I tend to be set in my ways. I like things to be “just so.” No kidding. If you don’t believe me, you can even ask Groom-boy, who has been on the receiving end of many a related growl. (Aside: this hasn’t stopped me from complaining about the way some things never change, however.)

I am so set in my ways that sometimes I am a bit slow to recognize when a change might be a really good thing.

For example, I distinctly remember when Boychild was just a wee guy that it took me forever to realize the reason he might not be sleeping well at night was probably because he was napping too much during the day. Changing his nap routine affected my routine during the day and it was annoying, but bedtime sure went better.

I don’t know for sure if I am finding change easier or harder as I get older. I suppose it depends on what the change is.

Here’s another example. A beloved supervisor for one of my 72 jobs (okay...I am exaggerating…I only have about 17 jobs) recently left to pursue new adventures. I could have thrown myself down on the floor and had an all-out tantrum or, at least, sat in the corner to weep inconsolably, but I didn’t.

It’s not because I don’t think she’s awesome and that I won’t miss her, and it’s not that I didn’t suggest (over and over) that she should stay. It’s just that she’s moving on to a cool opportunity and adventure and, for once, my happiness for her exceeded my dislike of change.

Wow. Coolio. That almost makes me sound super mature (for a change)!

Really, though, what are you gonna do? Change happens. Sometimes it’s good and we like it, often it’s yucky and unwelcome. Usually you can’t prevent it.

I have learned some change isn’t worth hysteria. Construction and its inconvenience? Why bother freaking out? Besides, doesn’t Wilson Street look lovely now?

One of the grocery stores in town recently renovated and changed a bunch of stuff around. Now I know we all like to wander into grocery stores on autopilot and go straight to our favourite comfort foods, but is it worth getting all bent out of shape if you can’t find your Mr. Noodles without asking?

Cashiers get a lot of abuse at the best of times. I know this because I did my fair share in retail when I was a student. I had one snobby lady throw avocadoes at me one day because I was having trouble correcting an error on the cash register. She called me “stupid,” too, before storming out of the store, which was awesome.

That lady is just one of the reasons I believe a three-month stint in retail should be mandatory before graduation so people learn how to treat others.

Now here’s something that’s causing a big ripple in the social media world – Facebook’s new layout. It’s some crazy stuff, people. Things have been rearranged and people are outraged by the change. There are online petitions and Angry Facebook Groups and diatribes to post online and so on. And on. And on.

And then a friend of mine posted a little thing on Facebook that said: “I am appalled that the free service that I am in no way obligated to use keeps making changes that mildly inconvenience me.”

Ah, perspective. Get some!

Anyway, I am not going to let it be The End of the World™ because a store has been rearranged, nor blow a gasket over the new arrows on Wilson Street (drivers’ ed taught me how to follow arrows in 1987), nor am I going to flip out because it is taking me longer than usual to goof off on Facebook.

Life is short. Pick your battles. The funny thing about change is that most of the time you can eventually get used to it, and when you can’t, you can eat chocolate.

If you can’t find the chocolate in the grocery store, just ask someone. Nicely.

Published in The Perth Courier, Sept. 29/11

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