This is a public service announcement sponsored by J Morris and the good folks at Morris Corp ENT…
Sam Cooke said it best, “A Change Is Gonna Come”. Change is inevitable; from the leaves turning from green to red and brown, branches that were once full and rich left narrow and bare, to the temperature shifting from warm to cold…a change is gonna come.
Now we may whine or complain about it being too cold or too hot but deep down we know there’s nothing we can do about it. We accept it. We can’t stop the rain from falling we can however pack an umbrella. Just as we can’t turn down the sun, hence the invention of air-conditioning. When we’re hit with something uncontrollably unpleasant we adjust and adapt. So why is it we stay so Darwinian deficient when it comes to accepting change within a person? We can accept the idea that caterpillars can become butterflies, giraffes once had short necks like horses even that dinosaurs roamed the Earth but “Steve” can’t mature past junior high?
We have such difficulty with the idea that a person can change. Whether it’s a family member, childhood friend or significant other we lock into this idea of who we think they are and refuse to believe anything different. Why? Why is it so important to believe that someone will never “really” change? Why must we meet the idea of someone growing, maturing and becoming aware with such resistance?
I’ve heard everything from, “once a cheater always a cheater” to “a leopard never changes its spots” even as blatantly as “people don’t change”…really? Humans can evolve from huts and pointy sticks to skyscrapers and cell phones but we’re incapable of curbing a behavior or two?
In my short time on this planet I’ve seen people that were screw ups in school now responsible spouses, parents, and people. I also remember some of the ones that were labeled “most likely to succeed” and “they have such a bright future ahead” turning to lives of crime and destitution. The once “hot girl” now…not so much, the guy going from Urkel to Denzel, or even from Craig to Carla, change happens all of the time.
I think the real disservice comes not from those who refuse to see us differently, but from those of us who refuse to embrace our changes. Some of us go away to school, become educated about different people and cultures or simply mature and we want so badly to hold on to who we were as opposed to whom we’ve become. We don’t want to accept that we are different and we have changed.
That awkwardness of no longer having things in common with old friends, the uncomfortable silence at functions after the “reminiscent” stage is over or the sheer feeling of disinterest can be unsettling and a little sad. This used to be “our boy/girl” now we’re only talking about old times because that’s all there is…and that’s okay.
Everyone in our lives isn’t necessarily meant to be here forever. We experience life with them, we learn and grow and in some cases move on. It happens in relationships too. Depending on what steps we take in our personal growth and development we may or may not still be compatible as time goes on. We may learn to like new things or stop liking old ones, change our behaviors or habits, in some cases we just grow up. Who we were is no longer who we are. “Love conquers all” is great in theory, however it doesn’t always ring true…and that’s also okay.
Family can be the worst, never seeing us past our childhood selves. They remember us as that little brother or sister, or still expect us to respond or think as we did in grade school. It’s a big leap accepting the idea that our once 6 year old little sister is now a 30 year old wife and mother. Seeing our wagon-toting little brother as the now corporate executive can be difficult to process. Sometimes it is family that has to be introduced to the “new” us the harshest…and once again…completely okay.
We shouldn’t have to suppress our growth or pretend to be someone we’re not for the sake of someone else. We will grow, we will change. There will be relationships that adapt and others that will end. The important part is understanding and accepting who we are. Others may not be as open to the idea of us changing or getting past their own expectations of us. They may forever view us as 9 years old, or from high school or those college days and that is their issue not ours.
A leopard may not change its spots; but a snake sheds its skin, birds molt their feathers and people alter their behavior…
A change is gonna come.
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