Change is good. Change is bad. Change is inevitable


I'm moping about the end of summer. At least until fall hits.

With every year that passes, I find that I love summer more. On the balance, I prefer boating, picnics, back­­yard barbecues, and flip-flops to crackling fireplaces, Christmas lights, snowball fights, and fuzzy sweaters.

Yes, summers in Kansas City can be beastly. The thermometer sticks in the upper echelons for weeks at a time, and the corresponding humidity level is just as high. (I know you longtime CVCers can testify to this combo of misery.) But even so, I’d rather swelter than freeze, especially considering that in winter it’s dark by 4:30 p.m. One of my fellow editors says she suffers from a condition known as SLD: seasonal laziness disorder. Me, too.

All of this means I dread the end of summer, which—sigh—is right about now. It’s still ridiculously hot outside, but students are back in school, which basically nails the coffin shut on this golden season. I’ve been moping about summer’s end for about a week now. And I’ve started to wonder if some fundamental resistance to change is feeding my mopiness. Because as soon as the first crisp morning hits, I’m going to be hauling out my L.L. Bean boots, simmering soup, and planning which pumpkin festivals to attend. Summer? Forget summer. Fall is my new favorite season!

The same weird sense of dread hits me right before I leave for a trip, even a fun one. The day or two before my departure, as I’m packing and reviewing my itinerary, I’m overcome by a gloominess that makes me question why I ever decided to embark on this journey in the first place. Why go to all this effort? Wouldn’t it be way more relaxing to just curl up on the sofa for a few days and read novels?

Usually at this point my rational self steps up. “Self, don’t listen to yourself! Travel is fun. A change of routine and environment is invigorating. You’ve been looking forward to this for months!”

But it seems to be part of the human experience to resist change on a gut level, no matter the nature of the change—even if it’s positive and much-anticipated. If the change is not something we’re excited about, our resistance quickly turns to resentment. And (unconsciously, perhaps), we telegraph and impart that unhappiness to everyone around us.

The thing is, even though it’s tremendously challenging, change is good. If we’re not changing, we’re stagnating (or dead). Change forces us to adapt, innovate, experience new things, solve problems, take risks.

So somehow we have to reconcile these two realities: Change sucks, and change is good. Government handing down new regulations? Hiring a new team member? Favorite veterinary products going OTC? It’s normal to wish these changes would just go away. But maybe they’ll end up invigorating and energizing you like a September breeze. And if not, you can still fix yourself a cup of hot chocolate, pull on a woolly cardigan, and say, “Bring it on, life. I’m ready for the change. If nothing else, I know I’m not dead.”

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