Most of us like to think that we embrace change. We're supposed to be progressive and look to the future. But some people admitted that they like their current routine -- they don't want to be jolted into a new regimen.
Or as one woman said, "The only person who likes change is the baby with the wet diaper."
Many of us have retired in the past few years. The change in our priorities, and even our routines, is still fresh in our minds. Some people have had difficulty coping with this change. They feel as though they are drifting, even wasting their lives, without a job to do, a reason to get up in the morning. Others have greeted retirement with open arms, pursuing new activities, developing new relationships -- and now they think they were wasting their lives when they were working for someone else, following someone else's dreams.
One person said that he used to like change, when he was younger and change meant greater opportunities, new experiences, new relationships. But he's not so sure about change anymore. He just turned 70, and now he foresees that the changes in his life are going to be more challenging -- managing on a smaller fixed income, dealing with illness or injury, coping with the loss of family and friends.
But another 70-year-old said that change is a good thing. She acknowledged that we sometimes face personal loss -- but we also get grandchildren! And look at our larger society. We see women becoming more empowered, non-traditional lifestyles becoming more respected, people of color demanding not just equal rights but equal treatment.
Besides, isn't the alternative to change just stagnation, boredom and resentment? Sure it's sometimes hard to step out of our comfort zone. But that's what keeps us vibrant, engaged and looking out to a world larger than ourselves. Change nourishes growth. And if you don't grow, you die.
Do people change depending on their circumstances? One person cited their mother who was a homebody when she was living in the super-competitive environment of a New York suburb. The mother was never assertive enough to get involved in the community. But then she retired to Florida, where the social environment was more friendly, more relaxed. She stepped forward and volunteered in town, even heading up a local women's group. Had she changed? Or had her environment changed?
Somebody else wondered if a major event can make you change -- a divorce, job loss, or having a child. One women reflected how she has changed since her husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. She'd been kind of a control freak her whole life. If there was a problem, she'd roll up her sleeves and fix it. But now she knew there was no fixing her husband's problem. There was coping with it, adapting to it -- something she had to learn.
Some people wondered if we really even ever change at all. Yes, perhaps we react differently under certain circumstances, but our core beliefs and values don't really change. If we're an introvert we probably don't turn into a social butterfly just because we move down the block. If we are ambitious and crave success, we probably don't change just because we get a new job or move to another neighborhood. The Type A personality who thrives at work probably becomes the super-volunteer in retirement. The nurturing person who cares about other people will find ways to help others no matter where they are.
But we do evolve, don't we? One man felt that he is a very different person now compared to what he was in his 20s and 30s. He recalled a line used by President George Bush to explain away his youthful indiscretions: "When I was young and stupid, I was young and stupid." This man could identify with that . . . and actually, so can I.
So I don't know. Do you feel like you're the same person you were when you were young and . . . well, not as smart as you are now?
We do mature, become more responsible as we get older. Perhaps having children makes us more responsible and socially aware. Or maybe we just mellow as get get older.
Of course, the most recent change is the pandemic that's been thrust upon us these past few months. Some people are secretly happy to have the excuse to stay at home. As one women said: "I love our Zoom meetings. I don't have to get up and get ready and go to class. I can just sit around in my pajamas and still talk to people!"
I guess change will always be with us. So I suppose we should make the best of it.