At least once a week, a friend, neighbor or work colleague will turn to me and ask, “Your hair is different today – what did you do to it?” They are absolutely right. I have no loyalty to hairdressers, much less hair color, so those frequent inquiries are always spot on – my hair is different. Perhaps my new hair styles, hair lengths and hair colors are an external representation of my belief in the power of positive change.
Several changes – none of them positive –all occurred during my early teen-aged years – a time of turbulent change for many teens. In the span of a very few years, all the grandparents I knew died, my best – and only – friend moved from our home town of Indianapolis to Southern California, my parents divorced, and my mother became severely impaired. After the divorce, my mother, siblings and I bounced around from apartment to apartment until I left for college several years later. Whether those changes, after a decade of mind-numbing sameness in our family life, set me up to crave change or whether I’m simply hard-wired to seek new experiences, I don’t know. As a 50 something year old, the reason why I believe in positive change is simply less meaningful to me than the belief itself.
Positive change keeps me seeking, wondering and asking questions. As a former lawyer and now writer, I love asking questions – the more probing, the better. I believe that change keeps me from getting stale, from getting bored and, I sincerely hope and pray, from being boring.
I’ve submitted more change of address post cards than I care to remember. I have taught English in Barcelona, cooked on a riverboat, lobbied in Washington for Fortune 500 companies and advocated for probationers and parolees. I’ve been single and childless and I’m now married with children. I’ve traveled to dozens of countries and 47 states. For the first 20 years of my life, I couldn’t speak without stuttering; now, talking is as natural as breathing, much to some friends’ dismay. I’ve joined some groups and shunned others.
While change keeps me juiced about what comes next, not all my changes have been positive. Some of the stupidest decisions I’ve made in my life were bad changes, yet I don’t regret them. Just as the positive changes have enriched my life experiences, the bad changes also informed my decisions and life choices.
Two people in my life still mourn the fact that our five year old full-grown standard poodle can’t be a puppy any longer. .. change is hard for them. Replacing old living room couches with new ones was another change that rocked their world, and not in a good way. Whenever they let me, I pull them close, hug them and say, “Change is inevitable. Choose positive change.”
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