Are you afraid of changes? I am. And after looking around and watching people go through life I am almost certain that everybody fears change to some degree.
If the weather was nice, my parents always had their coffee or tea outside on the bench under the old grapevine. Coffee was always making its way out on a beautiful small tray. Always the same tray. If it was cold or rainy, the coffee ritual was to take place inside, with each of them sitting in their usual seat and drinking from their usual cups. The coffee pot – yes, coffee pot, always the same, my parents never switched to coffee machines of any kind – was kept in one spot only. Misplacing it was not an option. And that made things right in a way that should not have to be explained.
And then I look at children, my own and others. They love their special rituals: going to bed a certain way, reading the bedtime books while holding mom’s hand a certain way, reading just some books and no others every Saturday morning in bed. Life moves fast in all directions and we can’t prevent or change that in any way. Having little comforting things the same way we always did, whether we’re young or old, helps keeping us grounded and provides a place where we can always go should life become a wild rumpus at times. And life does that occasionally, doesn’t it?
Yet some of those comfortable and good warm feelings can take another form and flavour over time: complacency. That’s when the rituals and the things that used to be just so become too much. And change should follow to prevent bitterness and resentment from settling in. When we’re about to change something, whether big or small, we feel challenged and quite scared too. Relying on that good old gut feeling becomes important and necessary. Of course, some might say, and rightfully so, that more often than not we need something more solid and palpable than the seemingly elusive gut feeling. Sometimes you do have the solid facts. Consider yourself lucky if you do, consider yourself lucky if you don’t. How is that for a “catch 22” type of problem? Not just a play with words. Like I mentioned before, learning to rely on the internal compass affectionately called gut feeling is both treacherous and exciting. Like walking on a rope. You can do it, since others have done it, but you need to learn or relearn balance. Knowing what you have to do because you feel it inside is the first step towards making changes of any kind. Looking for more solid facts to rely on while you are implementing the change is useful.
And since nothing is foolproof in life, failure is a possible outcome. Yet idleness out of fear is not, should not, be an option. The price of not changing anything for the purpose of improving our lives because the possibility of failure is also tucked in there somewhere is simply too high. Learning happens whether the changes we make are successful or not. And learning takes us one step forward.
So let some things be, the ones that wrap your soul up like a cozy old blanket, you need them there, but have the courage to change what should be changed. For the better. This is not a dare but an invitation. No RSVP necessary.