Change is hard, what a surprise. You know what isn’t hard? Staying exactly the same and doing what you have always done. Even when you hate it. Some might refer to it as a ‘better the devil you know’ mentality. And I have known some Devils in my lifetime. Yesireebob. One particular devil that I always hated was routine. At least, that’s what I would tell anyone that would listen, from my teens into early adulthood. I hated the regularity of things, the sensible mechanism of doing the same thing over and over again, getting life insurance, thinking about mortgages and investments for the future etc. etc.
OK, so mortgages and life insurance weren’t necessarily things I should have had to worry about as a teenager, but I did have a parent who dealt in finances and mortgages who felt it was their duty to tell me to prepare for the inevitably of a mundane future. At least that’s how I heard it.
I think I mostly wanted to rebel against routine because it represented everything I hated about myself; things which I have now learned to love, or at least tolerate. By this I mean, since my early childhood and well into my teen and adult years, I had been referred to as ‘the sensible one’, which by the way, as a teenage girl surrounded by friends who seemed to take risks and kiss boys on a whim, was akin to telling me I was boring as hell and would never have the kind of high school drama I saw take place on Dawson’s Creek and shows like that. Which actually explains why I got lost in American teen shows, just so there was some teenage drama in my life – there was enough real life home drama to last a lifetime, but I longed for the shallow kind that could be forgotten about the next day.
Anyway, anyway, I never got it. Not personally, but I did witness my friends engaging in teenage angst and drama. So there was that. I suppose that’s mostly why I insisted that I hated being called sensible, because that meant I was boring and didn’t have much to offer in terms of a personality, which was of extreme importance as a teenager; especially as I wasn’t and am not exactly your run of the mill beauty queen. I realise that using the words ‘run of the mill’ as something I hoped for in opposition to being sensible and mundane kind of negates my point but I think ultimately, you get my point.
I’ve since learned that being reliable and someone people could count on, is a pretty good quality to have when trying to make friends, which thankfully I rarely had any problems with. So I was sensible and always weighed up my big decisions (should I date this boy I really like even though I’m pretty sure he’s gay? But he’s a good friend and won’t pressure me to do anything I don’t want to do), heading for the most part towards the right decisions. I can say they’re the quote unquote “right decisions” only because years later, I have not found myself regretting a single decision that I made back then. But that also might be because my memory has now gotten so bad that I’ve forgotten my mistakes, but whatever, I’m rolling with it.
So what am I blathering on about I hear you cry? Change of course. In this instance I’ve used my teenage experiences as an example of how my thoughts and feelings about myself and what kind of person I am (not that anyone is really any kind of anything except just themselves, in my opinion), have changed and grown and evolved and also sucked massively. They sucked because when change happened, I had already gotten really good at being myself and accepting my sensible self as a strong part of my core as a human being, but being that without the support of routine basically makes me fall apart, apparently.
That’s not to say that I didn’t have a massive internal rebellion when I got to university, and attempted to be (my own version) of a risk taker – by talking to strangers and sleeping next to but not making out with boys who were also friends. Side note, they were always just my friends. I never did figure out how to engage boys beyond friendship when I was a teenager, and not sure that I know how to do it now either. Basically I’m saying I’m a terrible flirt, and not in the good way.
But I knew that flirting wasn’t my forte and eventually began to accept that I was who I was. I even got comfortable and started to push my life towards more creative but predictable exploits, until my whole life was a routine that I wholeheartedly enjoyed and heavily relied upon. I never thought I would feel settled in my life, and suddenly for the first time, I was just that. And then recently I was forced to move house. I won’t go into the detail of it, but let’s just say that I lived in one place for five years and it was the longest I had ever continuously lived anywhere, and due to unforeseen circumstances and the landlord’s decision to sell, I had to move.
I won’t insult your intelligence (obviously you’re intelligent as you’re reading this, or at least pretending to) by whining about how stressful moving house is and how frigging terrible it is, because you probably already know. If you don’t, you’ve lived a very good life and I salute you and also hate you. But thanks for reading this also.
Being surrounded by your worldly possessions in brown boxes and bubble wrap really puts things into perspective, and makes you wish you had listened to your mind when heavily depressed at university, that told you to sell all of your possessions and go live atop a mountain. Hmm, OK so maybe I have one regret.
My point (as if I ever have a point when I start these things, who am I kidding?) is this; change is hard and exhausting. If you’re lucky it’s also rewarding and perspective giving. If you’re unlucky then you’re left with regrets about things you never had the power to change, and massive feelings of annoyance at finally getting OK with everything staying the same, just to have it thrown back in your face.
Suddenly I’m paying more attention to my age and the future and how many relationships I haven’t had and how many almost relationships I have had and eating right and registering with a new GP and all of this stemming from a change of bloody address. I miss my old buddy routine – so mundane, so regular and so very care free.
Image credit: Drunk Girl by Vectors Market from the Noun Project