According to reports, UK dwellers moan on average, 1,300 times a year, recently I have probably been using that yearly moan quota in a week!
What I’ve been grumbling about is change. I hate it you see, change and me have never been bosom buddies and I doubt we ever will. I like sameness, you know where you are with it.
I seem to have reached a time of life when changes occur on a daily basis. To begin with, the biggest change has been hitting middle age. I appear to have gone hurtling head first at it and came off rather badly injured.
The invisible impact of the middle years has left me feeling like I’ve been hit by a speeding train. I ache in places I didn’t even know I had places! From the moment I open my eyes I complain about my sore foot, my bad back and stiff, little fingers (I’m referring to my rigid digits and not the band that those of us of a certain age will fondly recall!).
Presently, I seem to be positively marinating in change. Last night, I spent the evening at my child’s school at what’s known as a Transition Fair (no I’d never head of one before either!).
This was an opportunity for us to meet representatives and get information on the ‘big’ schools that are available for my son. I stood there thinking; he’s only just started Primary 6 for goodness sake, what’s the rush?
I resented having to think about when the time comes for him to change schools. I know for sure once that happens, our connection will no longer be the same. I will lose that darling, little, boy who shouts he loves me every morning at the top of his voice, with no embarrassment whatsoever, as I drop him at school.
Another very unwelcome change I experienced recently, was the death of my next door neighbour. He died suddenly last week after a short illness. I had been speaking to him just days before. Now everything about his house is lifeless. His car sits in the driveway where I watched him park it for the last time.
The tissue he had used to wipe his windscreen as he waved to me, still sits where he left it, in the niche between the two front seats. His greenhouse stands abandoned with the plants he had so lovingly nurtured. Life’s little, intimacies are the things that are so hard to bear when someone passes.
They are reminders of how easily life is interrupted. And who will move into the house next? After living some 40 years beside the same person, I dread change. What will the new inhabitants be like? Will they take my bin in for me on bin day as my late neighbour thoughtfully did?
Psychologists say we dislike change because it isn’t simply about embracing the unknown, it about giving up something old. And in the human mind anything that’s firmly established, we associate as being good. Research shows that people have a very reliable and tangible preference for things that have been around a long time. The bottom line is, unconsciously we all believe that longevity equals goodness.
In a recent study, participants were given chocolate to taste, some were told it had been selling for 73 years, others were told three years.
The group who thought they were sampling a long-established brand, found the chocolate better tasting.
In another study, participants admired the appearance of a tree described as being 4,500 years old more than those who thought the same tree was 500 years old.
There’s no doubt we are creatures of habit, though I must stop complaining about the metamorphoses occurring in my life, because they are things that are moving life on as the universe intended.
Change can be a good thing, certainly not in the form of my ageing body, but my son might be on the brink of the happiest times of his life when he changes schools. And though I will miss my neighbour, wonderful people may come to take his place.
All in all, I can’t really complain about my lot. Good things may be afoot, as my son reminded me so sagely when he heard me moaning about hating change.
“Now mum”, he said wagging his finger at me, “if there was no change, there would be no butterflies!”
He has a point!