Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

I believe I may have mentioned my enjoyment of The Writer's Almanac and the daily poem I get in my email. Sometimes I'm less than impressed with the selection. Sometimes it sings to me. Today's gem rang so true I had to share.


by Louis Jenkins

All those things that have gone from your life,
moon boots, TV trays and the Soviet Union, that
seem to have vanished, are really only changed.
Dinosaurs did not disappear from the earth but
evolved into birds and crock pots became bread
makers and then the bread makers all went to
rummage sales along with the exercise bikes.
Everything changes. It seems at times (only for
a moment) that your wife, the woman you love,
might actually be your first wife in another form.
It's a thought not to be pursued….Nothing is the
same as it used to be. Except you, of course,
you haven't changed…well, slowed down a bit,
perhaps. It's more difficult nowadays to deal with
the speed of change, disturbing to suddenly find
yourself brushing your teeth with what appears
to be a flashlight. But essentially you are the
same as ever, constant in your instability.

I tend to really hate change. I'm a creature of habit. I find comfort in routine and safety in ritual. And yet changes comes. Sometimes it is foisted upon me without warning and I rage against it like a spoiled child who has had her playtime interrupted for a nap. Sometimes I know it's needed but still I avoid it with every ounce of strength. If I see it coming from a distance and I am convinced of its value it's easy to embrace but I know I can be a hard sell. I'm not a gambler and I tend to think, "better the devil I know than the devil I don't know." I can move like a glacier when faced with the prospect of monumental shifts.

Then I am faced with the mirror in the bathroom, or the look in my children's eyes, or the thoughtful insight of a true friend and I recognize that even the glaciers march forward and recede with time and leave unmistakable marks on the landscape.

So tell me, what marks change in you and your life? How do you react to change?


Craig said...

Jen likes to call me a Hobbit, because I so love me a nice, comfy hobbit-hole, and I hate adventures; and yet, adventures keep finding me. . .

Let's see. . . there's the ever-spreading spot on the back of my head that won't grow hair anymore. There's the distance I have to drive to work. My kids grow up (but not really, it seems sometimes). Parents grow old and even die, sometimes. Which makes it hard to play catch with them in the back yard. Heck, even some of my friends, my own age-peers, are starting to look and act positively 'elderly'.

I can't get Raisin Mini-Wheats anymore; nor the 'Timberline' aftershave I used to favor. John Lennon is dead; so is George Harrison. Ringo is 70. Raquel Welch turns 70 this year.

Nothin' ever sits still anymore. . .

Anonymous said...

three quarters, two dimes and a nickel....i get excited thinking I can now go through the Exact Change tollbooth on the parkway...

S said...

I like to do what I have to do and want to do when I want to do it, not when someone else tells me to.
That's why I have been self employed all my life. I can't deal with bosses bossing me around.

As for change, I hate it when I have psyched myself up all day for something we planned to do, because it does take some psyching to get me out of the house, if it's not India, so, I get all ready to go, and the plans get cancelled for whatever reason, and there I was all mentally prepared then it doesnt happen, argh!

ANd I hate it when bra companies change their styles, and I hate when I cant find my favorite mascara anymore, but that problem caused me to start getting my eyelashes dyed so I guess that's ok!

Have a great day!

for a different kind of girl said...

Aside from the graying hairs and the creaky bones? I think the biggest thing that marks the change for me is being a little bit taken aback every single day by how my kids are growing and changing themselves. It's a huge mirror for me!

Suldog said...

Initially, I almost always resist change. I'm a big-time creature of habit. Love to do the same good things, over and over (you, of course, know that I've always ordered the same two things at The Pleasant Cafe for 45 years!)

But, I'm also one of the most adaptable folks I know. I don't like change, but I can deal with it. And, when all is said and done, I have to admit that it's about 50-50 as to whether I actually like changes that take place. Odd, huh?

I'd prefer that YOU don't change, of course. As Fred Rogers might have said, with a slightly different intent, I like you just the way you are :-)

Kat said...

I used to be afraid of change. But then I realized that life IS change. And I know I am strong enough to handle whatever change comes my way. I may not like it. I may not love it. But I can handle it.

Logophile said...

I did quite enjoy that poem today as well.
"...constant in your instability."

There has been a lot of change around here lately.
I try to balance the zen approach,
"I am a rock; the river flows around me,"
and the Dory approach,
"Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming."

I'll let you know how it worked if the current ever lets up.

Cocotte said...

I've been having trouble facing the fact that my 15 YO son is almost grown up. I don't know if it's because he's my baby or only son. I've been known to look at his school momentos and burst out in tears.

secret agent woman said...

On balance, I like change. But my crock pot is still a crock pot.

Cricket said...

What marks change in my life? An interesting question, and a possible inspiration should I find the time to actually write again. For now:

An empty chair at the table...
Silence where once there were voices...
Voices where once there was silence...
A well-worn rosary...
A two-hundred year-old baptismal gown...
Pencil marks on the door jamb...
Moving from Dada, to Daddy, to Dad...

All that and more besides.

Jocelyn said...

Ah, ha! Louis Jenkins!!!! Remember how he made me concede I like poetry a couple months ago?

Change. Hmmm. Mostly I adore it. I hate ritual and predictability. I do see, though, that change has started to cause in me anxiety sometimes--when I don't know what comes next. At the same time, I'm still always ready for what comes next.