Change without Choice

Mood: Cloudy | Drinking: Yes

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We all knew change was coming.

It was the big slogan, after all.

And I’m not necessarily afraid of or opposed to change. Change is necessary. Inevitable. Good, even.

It’s just that I’d rather be prepared for it. I’d rather ask for it. I’d rather be the one who decides when and where and if and how.

Lately, that’s just not happening.

There have been so many changes already in 2009, changes that I did not want, did not ask for, did not sign my name on a dotted line to say, yes, I am on board with all of this upheaval.

But it’s happening anyway.

For me personally, it began with my grandmother’s death followed immediately by the job layoff last November. But with the perfect vision of hindsight, I now see the rumblings that began long before.

Last summer, even while I was cheerfully ignoring any news of impending doom, my friend Michael was reading the New York Times cover to cover and slouching in our living room shaking his head, saying, “We’re all doomed, sweetheart!”

I chose not to believe him.

But change is the kind of force that requires neither your belief nor your permission. It happens, with or without a by-your-leave, and you find yourself getting swept up and carried along whether you like it or not.

Your only choice becomes to surrender to the current or drown.

So I’m surrendering. I am. It’s too exhausting to fight my way upstream, and there’s nothing left back there for me anyway. But I don’t have to be cheerful about it. Not yet.

I continue to wake up crabby that the job I had for four years, the job I picked out all by myself, is gone — washed away. And the job I now have, though I’m grateful for it, is not a job I would have chosen, if given the choice.

I also would not have chosen to wash my favorite wee silver cell phone in the pocket of my grubby jeans after a long day of yard work on Monday. But since I didn’t stop to think about it (or check the pockets), it got sudsed and rinsed and spun and ruined. And now I have a shiny new blue phone and it’s fine and all, but it’s one more change that I did not choose. And therefore I’m slightly disgruntled.

(The phone, in fact, is what made me think about this whole topic.)

But when I bottom line it for myself, I hit the hard and simple truth that this is just life. This is how it goes.

You don’t get to choose everything that changes you. That’s not how it works. So at some point you begin to learn to make the best of it, to accept the new things graciously, to find the good in the midst of it all and to move on.

I’m working on it.

-Lo, making like a chameleon.


A postscript that has nothing to do with change: February 18th is my wedding anniversary. It’s been nine years today since Boy and I stood in a chapel in the middle of a Midwest snowstorm and exchanged vows. Amazing.

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