Change is Good

THE Relationship Blog

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You ever hear the Adam Sandler routine with the teenager talking to his mom and, no matter what the teen says, the mother response with ‘They’re all gonna laugh at you’? If that was your mom, would you be afraid of change?

Paul says: I actually have spoken to my parents about change. This conversation was important to me because it was one of those ‘I was raised by wolves’ exchanges. My mother, with my father sitting next to her and nodding agreement, told me how she believes that change is always forced upon you and is seldom good. She let me know that she hated change, it scared her, and she would prefer to live a life of unchanged bliss. In a rare moment of insight, she looked at me and said, ‘but I know that you are not that way’.

I like change. I crave it. I look for opportunities to change. I honestly have no idea where I got this. As I have mentioned before, my formative years were fearful. My mother talks about crying from fear everyday for the first two years of her marriage. I was conceived one month into their marriage so you do the math. For the first part of my life, the air that I breathed was laced with fear. How’s that for dramatic?

So why is it that I like change? By all rights, I should hate it like my folks. Yet I seek out reasons to change and to experiment. I am the person that walks into a restaurant and orders the thing that is written in a different language and has no translation on the menu. I have actually had to argue with a Chinese waitress. I said that I wanted the… I had to point because the menu only had it written in Chinese. She said, ‘You don’t want that’. I asked, ‘It’s food, right?’ She said that it was and I said, ‘then I want it’. After I ate about half of it, I had to admit that she was right. It was some bean curd thingy that tasted like dirt in a gelatin mold. Yuck.

I think that it is the ‘always forced upon you’ part that makes me different then my parents. Since I find ways of change in my life, change is never (or seldom) forced upon me. It’s kind of a control thing. As long as I feel a semblance of   control then my pre-frontal cortex does not get overloaded and my amygdala does not go to the fight or flight response.

We are moving from Miami, Florida to Big Bear, California this summer. We have lived in Florida for 16 years and we have family and friends here but it is time to move. This is in part a response to our daughter going to college next year and part a career advancement opportunity. What did I do to lessen the fear of this change? I started packing. I already have all of the Christmas decorations, half of the non-essential nick-knacks and all of the china and pretty plates packed away. I am not doing this because we have so much stuff because we don’t. I am doing this to maintain control. This way I do not freak out.

We are still not certain where our daughter is going to school and this uncertainty is a source of a huge amount of stress. As long as I do not know then whatever happens falls under the category of ‘forced upon’ and my amygdala starts doing back flips.

So the moral of this story is that I need to control everything or else my brain goes wonky.

Second moral of this story is, if the waitress says that you do not want to eat the thing that you are about to order, she is probably correct.

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