Change is a constant. This seeming paradox is because we can not sit still. We have to keep moving, keep innovating, keep inventing. We would grow bored otherwise. It is just the way we are. We want the latest everything and that means we expect change. The latest model of anything needs something new, exciting, different. Your phone must do more, your television must do more, your computer, laptop or iPad must do more. Even our cars must do more. They have learned to park themselves, tell us when something is wrong, call us if there is a crash to see if we are all right. They pick up radio by satellite and play dvds to keep us entertained. The onboard diagnostics will even send us an email to remind us to take care of something we might otherwise forget. We all celebrate these changes.
Oddly, we do not want any change that affects us personally. We wish to be left as we are. We want everything to stay within our comfort zone, especially in our personal lives. When we grow up, we learn a certain set of beliefs. Certain hobbies and rituals creep into our lives. We become comfortable with neighbors and our neighborhoods. We get to know our surroundings well enough that we may never want that to change. I don’t mean we will never want to move, but that we may only feel comfortable to moving somewhere that seems familiar, someplace where you don’t really have to change.
It is a shame more people can not or will not travel the world and experience new things. I am not talking about going down the road and staying at the Comfort Inn. I am talking about traveling to other countries and experiencing other cultures. This means not staying at the large chain hotel, eating at McDonald’s, Pizza Hut or KFC, or travelling with the large tour group of friends who only speak English. It means accepting the fact that we are indeed turning into a global village and we must get comfortable with what follows as a result. Society changes and we need to change with it. By this, I do not mean accepting something that is unethical, immoral or somehow absolutely wrong. I mean that we need to recognize that society changes and we must change too. If you are a student of history, then you know that history books neatly divide time into eras in order to signal the change from one type of society to another. The problem for some is that the changes are coming faster and faster.
Certainly it can be a jolt to the system to deal with unexpected cultural, political or financial change. The last few years have brought challenges that upset what has always been a shaky balance to society. It has brought us stress and worry as we try to deal with the change of fortunes of our friends, relatives, neighbors, companies and even our nation. Some changes are certainly hurdles along the road of life, but why would we think there would never be any obstacles along the way? When our Tea Party friends talk of restoring America or taking America back, what do they really mean? They wish to turn back the clock? Sorry, it is not going to happen. If they elect enough candidates, they may get to change some things. That will not turn back the clock, it will just change the course we are on. You can not erase time, unless you are a time lord and have a tardis for travel.
In the last decade, the company I worked for was purchased by another company. When they tried to merge companies and consolidate duties in what proved to be an ill-conceived plan, there was a lot of change. People were upset at having to take on different roles with the company in order to keep their employment. I recall one vice president commenting that is was unrealistic for people to think that the job they were hired to do would never change, even if they worked at it for 40 years. Countries and companies that seemed to promise jobs for life (many Japanese companies are prime examples) have not been able to keep that commitment. The only way that companies can continue to maintain their work forces or even have them grow is to keep changing.
When thinking about this topic, I really wanted to sit down at the typewriter and prepare the copy. When finished I wished to cut and paste the copy on my layout sheet. By cut and paste, I mean cute with a scissors and paste with glue, Elmer’s glue or one of those new glue stick things the kids use. After that I would take the finished copy to the printer and he could prepare the plates and get the printing presses rolling and make a lot of copies. Then I figured by the time I addressed all the envelopes, folded all the copies and put them in the envelopes, licked all the envelopes (yuck!) and sealed them, put stamps on them all and took them to the post office, it would be next Sunday and I would be behind on my stated schedule. So I have accepted the change and the challenge of this new contraption called a personal computer, but if I ever start any sentences with, “Back in my day…” or “When I was your age…” or “Why did we ever have to change_______…”, pull the plug on my computer and send me to the rest home…PLEASE!