For a few years now I’ve been wanting to write a little essay with this title, because I believe passionately it is true. We can change.
As individuals, I mean.
No one is saying it is necessarily an easy or overnight thing (although for some I suspect it can be).
& sometimes (maybe often) the changes come as the result of rather difficult & painful things that have happened to one on one’s life travels (uh, been there ) – but it is true that we can change.
& if enough people were to make the decision to change – to become more conscious – the world would change…wouldn’t it??
I’m not saying our civilization (using the term loosely, as so much of what takes place on Planet Earth is not remotely civilized, or even civil, is it?) can be “saved.” Heck, I don’t even want this absurd, rapacious culture to be saved, do you??
So all I’m sayin’ is, we can change.
I’m going to prove this conclusively with some examples of ways in which I myself have changed.
If I can do it, you can too!
- So, for example, I used to always-always-always make my bed quite obsessively. “Hospital corners” (okay, I still use hospital corners) – bed smooth as proverbial glass, covers pulled up & turned down neatly – you could bounce a quarter off my bed in the old days. Now, I don’t make it at all! (I was influenced by Michael Moore, who made fun of this female bed-making proclivity in one of his books, pondering amusingly what the heck it’s all about. “What do they think, the ceiling looks down on the un-made bed all day & is offended?” – or words to that effect. He made me look at it differently.) So now, I don’t make my bed at all anymore. I’ve changed!
- Once upon quite a long time ago now, I was kind of a “glass is half-empty” type. Looking on the side of what was missing, rather than with gratitude at what was there. Sure dropped that along the way!!
- Closely related was my tendency to live according to a “poverty mentality.” Mostly I don’t do this anymore. Oh, I can still be a bit pissy on occasion about what I “can’t afford,” but mostly I just don’t obsess over most of this stuff anymore. I no longer think my world is going to fall apart if I buy a slightly more expensive brand of beer, say, & for sure it’s been many many years now I’ve been buying fair trade & organic coffee. Life’s just too short to live it inside a poverty mentality – or at least it is in my little world. I’ve changed!
- And, once upon a time, I used to reconcile my monthly bank statements faithfully, right down to the penny. These days, as long as the bank & I are within $100 of each other, I’m cool (closer is better, you understand, but spending my time on bank statements is really just not my idea of fun). Though my sister would faint if she heard this, I am still not even looking at my bank statements at all most of the time, & while I am not advocating this as a course of action for anyone else, you understand, all I’m saying is, I’m not that same person who used to get her shirt in a knot over a buck or two here or a buck or 2 there. Life’s just too darn short…
- I also no longer harbour any grand illusions about “controlling” my life. I’m 100% convinced that I’m (sort of) in charge of my life – but I’m not in control. Shit is gonna happen – often, even. I’m in charge of my happiness – not in control of what happens. (This was always the case, btw. It just took me quite a few years to get it.)
- I used to be a person who was very rooted to one spot. Post-age 55, I became very mobile, shall we just understatedly say. Friends now call me ‘the gypsy lady’ – & it’s an accurate description of the now-almost-60 me. Imagine becoming a gypsy at this late stage of the game. Who knew?? (We can change.)
- This one is silly, I know. I can now brush my teeth with the bathroom door open. Don’t laugh – for decades I couldn’t! (When I was a kid, our father would shout at anyone in the family foolish enough to leave the door open while brushing her/his teeth. Apparently the sounds offended him deeply. Geez, eh??) Okay. I still can’t actually brush my teeth with the door open if there is another human being within earshot – but…I can feel myself making progress!
Finally, the real kick-ass proof that we human beings CAN take charge of our own destiny, grab ourselves by the bootstraps & whup ourselves into fiercesome earth-shattering feats of courage & world-changing…
I now turn toilet paper rolls so the paper comes off the roll on the outside of the roll, not that old coming-off-the-back way I clung to stubbornly for probably 50 years.
You see?? I’ve CHANGED. I really really have.
We humans are capable of truly amazing feats. Is it not so??
p.s. more than a week later: I ought surely to have suggested that there are 2 simple & very cost-effective (i.e., free!) things you can do to make quick changes in your own life. Take up a gratitude practice, & walk on a regular basis. These have both sure worked miracles in my life!! (Singing is another free & none-too-shabby way of altering one's mood(s). Very very difficult - if not impossible - to remain unhappy, for example, while singing!!)
Runner-up: “No matter how exotic human civilization becomes, no matter the developments of life and society, there always come interludes when the course of humankind – the very future of humankind – depends upon the relatively simple actions of single individuals.” – The Tleilaxu Godbak
** Plenty more quotations about change here.