The time change always seems disorienting. Even mildly annoying.
When I moved back to Terre Haute from Illinois in the late 1990s, it was before Indiana voted to adopt daylight saving time. Coming from a state that changed times twice a year, it was refreshing to forgo the hassle of the bi-annual ritual. While the rest of the nation lurched forward or backward on a set day, Indiana remained a calm oasis of resolute constancy.
And then came 2005, when Indiana legislators buckled to the pressures of the rest of the fickle world and adopted daylight saving. So here we are, twice every year, fiddling with alarm clocks and wristwatches and microwave ovens and vehicle dashboards and grandfather clocks and cuckoo clocks and mantel clocks and sundials … well, never mind the sundials. Spring forward, fall back (what does that mean we're supposed to do with the clock again?). Waking an hour earlier. Missing that hour of sleep. And why do we go through all this again?
The point is, change can be disorienting. We're creatures of habit. We like to surround ourselves with familiar bearings — people, places, things — to help us navigate our way through life. Change forces us to regain our bearings and adapt to regain our footing.
And in life, change is constant. A new house. A new job. A new car. A new relationship. A new acquaintance. A new friend. A new family member. The loss of a loved one. A new traffic light. A favorite restaurant closes. A building demolished. A new building built. New technology. New technological advances. New software. A new software update. A new crease around the eyes. A grey hair that wasn't there before. Hair that was there, but no longer... Change is constant.
Adapting to change comes easier for some than for others. While some actually crave change as a way to avoid boredom, complacency, stagnancy, others long for the comfort of familiarity. There's stability in knowing how the world works. After all, change isn't always for the better, and updates aren't always improvements.
Change can mean growth, improvement, progress, advancement. It can also be regression, deterioration and decay. The challenge comes in knowing what should be changed and how, and in knowing what ought to be kept as-is. To find the good, and maintain the good - hold onto it – while recognizing what needs improvement, finding your role, then working to improve it.
Often, the change that needs to take place is an internal one: a change of perspective. As the late philospher and author Wayne Dyer said, “Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.”
So look around. What do you see within your realm of influence that needs a change? In your workplace, your neighborhood, your community, the organizations in which you serve. What needs to change and what's changing that shouldn't? And what are you going to do about it? Complaining doesn't count.
Mark Gibson is Executive Director of The Haute Initiative, a grassroots non-profit dedicated to promoting and celebrating the greater Terre Haute/Vigo County community.