How We Look at Change


Almost a year has passed since we’ve seen each other. And to make my post interesting to you, I have made it interactive. You will have the opportunity to participate. Can I have a thumbs-up?

(Now you give me a thumbs-up.)

(That’s how this works. Nice job.)

Even though Linus has been quiet in the blogosphere, a lot of change has been occurring outside of the closed laptop. How we each look at change is amazing. Both the change around us and the change inside ourselves. (Nod.)

On the night of our recent presidential election, I was watching the news coverage in a bar with friends. Each television had a different news channel: CNN, FOX, and MSNBC. We scanned our eyes across the screens as we drank our beer and ate our cheap pizza, talking about the drastic changes that would happen if HE won, or the even more drastic changes if, God forbid, HE won. In those few hours, I realized that I had never actually created a mental image of my life in the next few years. Would I be a victim of losing my healthcare? What job would I have? Where would I even live? Would either of these men on TV actually send any ripples my way? Not metaphorical ripples that I would see from afar, but ripples that I would physically feel. (Look ponderous.)

Change takes many forms. Sometimes the world doesn't change when we need it to, and that's when fires are lit. Taken from my trip to Valparaíso, Chile, 2011.

Students protesting high tuition costs. The world may not change when we want it to. Valparaíso, Chile, 2011.

Blanket statement: In recent months I have seen a lot of change. (Applaud.)


  1. I moved out of my home city, Minneapolis.
  2. I slept on the couches of generous strangers.
  3. I lived in Spain and experienced life as a teacher.
  4. I came back and experienced life as a teacher in the States.
  5. I graduated from college.

This is when I started to reflect. Because, as you already know, we never know that something has changed until we reach into the past bag, pull out its contents, and lay them on the table: the present. My reflection told me that I was not feeling anything different. I actually desired to feel the same. Why? (Shrug. Because you don’t know.)

When I realized that the world kept spinning without me, I panicked and pushed against its rotation.

Plaque reads, "In memory of gays, lesbians, and transsexuals, who have been persecuted and repressed throughout history." When the world doesn't see the change the way its people do. Barcelona, Spain, 2012.

“In memory of gays, lesbians, and transsexuals that have been persecuted and repressed throughout history.” When the world doesn’t see the change the way its people do. Barcelona, Spain, 2012.

Note to self: pushing against the Earth’s rotation is actually impossible. (Shake head.)

Perhaps life outside of college is ferociously fast, something like a train. And leaving college was like jumping on. You don’t jump on a train by just jumping. You jump on after you’ve run a little first. Another impossible thing.

What’s funny is that I had been encouraging students to accept change and not be afraid of vulnerability. They even wrote songs about it. Be the change you want to see in the world! they belted, quoting Gandhi, standing as a choir with myself on the piano. With their passionate and pining voices, they praised peace and respect and acting out against violence.

In that moment I found what I needed, and what it took 100 fourth graders singing on choral risers to show me. (Cutsie face. Little kids.)

Our buildings can be an image of our own emotions toward change. Do we want it, or not? The Hague, Netherlands, 2011.

Our buildings can be an image of our own emotions toward change. Do we want it, or not? The Hague, Netherlands, 2011.

Stress due to change seems to come from reaction, not proaction. And a negative reaction, like stress, comes from resistance to the unknown. (Yikes, what is he talking about?) A person who does not make themselves vulnerable enough to accept those changes is essentially tensing their muscles every hour of the day. 

Do you consider yourself easily accepting of change? Or not? Why?

Do you think we need to be vulnerable? Or protective?



6 thoughts on “How We Look at Change

  1. Welcome back. I waved, nodded, looked ponderous, etc. when prompted. I also think that as someone who practically has a panic attack whenever she thinks about graduation, I could learn some things from this post.

    • Hi Holly!

      I hope the interactive feature was engaging. I try.

      I wish I had more post-graduation wisdom. I never really reached a conclusion in this blog post (…even after writing posts, I still reflect on them and wish I could go back and rewrite!), but I think with a thing like graduation that is probably okay. For the next few months — and years, even — I’m going to be dealing with post-graduation confusion in many different ways. It will be a progressive learning experience.

  2. I do not think I’m very accepting of change! For me, I think it’s less of a desire to remain the same, and more of a desire to feel in control of my life. Instead of the “tensing my muscles” imagery, it’s more like taking a deep breath and not letting it out until the change has come and gone, then coping afterwards.

    We need to have the right combination of vulnerability and protective. While we’re new people with each passing day, we’re still the same person we woke up as the day before, just shaped and adapted by our surroundings. It depends on whether the change is intrinsic or extrinsic. Sure, I can decide to drastically change something about my personality, but the result is still individualized by who I was when I made the choice. Likewise, a change from some external factor (money, moving, jobs, etc) will affect each person differently.

    Embrace the change with open arms, but guard the soul that got you there.

    • Hey L,

      I like that you told me your own way to react to change. It makes me think that it depends on what species of change we’re talking about, and each one will get a different reaction.

      What we consider “flexible” to change can become “wobbly” when we are opening ourselves to absolutely everything and, as you so eloquently said, never protecting the soul inside.

  3. Great article, change is hard if we let it be. Change is good even if we don’t see it at the time. I think back to when I was on top of the world teaching at one of the most contemporary schools in Hollywood, I received the best teacher award 3 years in a row. Then a change of management happened and everything changed. I then made a decision is this what I want for my life or do I want something better. I decided to start my own school in Vienna and teach the students in Europe. What a blessing it was, one of the best experiences of my life. I met and saw different people, cultures and places that changed my world. If I hadn’t taken the chance and made that change at that exact time my life would have turned out so different. Change is good, everything is changing around us at all times, keep your eyes and ears open, look for the incoming opportunities.

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