Change is Hard. It’s Really Hard

Change is good is a ridiculous cliché. The outcome might be good, but the change process is often really hard.

One year during Lent, I appreciated a pastor suggesting people add something positive if you were giving up a vice. He also related how at one parish, he had a congregant who gave up smoking every Lent and would light up every Easter.

The change was incomplete there. What if you want to fully implement and maintain change? How do you enforce it in yourself? Accountability can be attained with a partner and/or bullet journals, etc. That’s nice, but how devoted are you to the change itself?

Sometimes we are forced to change and for the better. For example, my sciatica was really acting up over the holidays. The tighter I got, the less I exercised and that becomes a downward spiral. (Sciatica is exacerbated by weak, tight muscles). Well, we adopted a dog with long legs who insists on trotting really fast when I walk her. My legs started to strengthen and lengthen. A professional massage really helped too. The massage therapist recommended I use the big Stairmaster a the gym to firm up particular muscles. Yes, it’s working.

Yet there are other areas of life when we are perfectly content and complacent to stay set in our ways. Think world views. Many people reach political conclusions and then never stray from them. Ever. Even if underlying circumstances change or a political party changes, they will not budge. The refusal to change becomes an attribute they pride themselves in. “Never budge, that’s my rule!,” said one Zax to another in the Dr. Seuss story featuring two stubborn characters who cross paths on a prairie and mutually refuse to step aside for one another. Eventually, civilization grows up around them, literally, as they continue to stand underneath a highway bypass built for the express purpose of moving traffic around them. I must admit this lesson stuck with me from childhood and I still think this video of the Zax bypass is still hilarious to watch as an adult.

At other times, the change is embraced.

When I first met my boyfriend, I was struck at how different he was from the typical East Coast urbanites I knew from my past life. He had a whole row of t-shirts, mostly Harley-Davidson, hanging neatly in his closet. Yes, there are also dress shirts, but more t-shirts. Clearly, he has his priorities in order. He introduced me to a love of AC/DC, the enjoyment of hunting and generally, an appreciation of rednecky things. Once I donned a pair of extremely comfortable and practical camouflage Crocs, he joked, “the transformation is complete.” OK, this is not to say I dress in camo everyday. As I write, I am wearing bronze Birkenstocks, tailored black pants, a cute t-shirt and pearls my Grandma gave me when I was 16. My style has not changed too much, as you can see in this picture of me departing for a backpacking trip around Europe after college graduation a long time ago. Check out the Birkenstocks!

Katharine Fraser after college graduation.
Me in blue suede Birkenstocks. Montclair, N.J. 1993.

Still, I am willing to change, whether it is attire, activities, attitudes and yes, even in world view. Life isn’t lived without change.