This was supposed to be a funny column.
It’s cathartic to alternate the serious discussion-based fodder for more lighthearted brain flush. Kind of like slamming Pynchon followed by an Onion chaser. Invigorating for the writer, refreshing for the reader, and, really, when it comes right down to it, when I’m not thinking about me, I’m thinking about you.
Besides, I feel like most of the columns I’ve written lately resemble those inspirational message/men hang gliding over the Rockies pictures propagating office walls. Harmony. Peace. Love. Spicy cheese. So funny would be a good change of pace.
The problem is, it’s not all about the funny right now. It’s all about change.
For the past two months of my life, change has been in the driver’s seat. Naked. Going 89 mph. Chugging Jagermeister while listening to Mexican hair metal.
I’m in the backseat with a barf bag and a cold washcloth for my forehead.
In the past two months, I’ve experienced drastic changes in career, living environment, exercise regimen, sleep schedule, volunteer commitments, and relationships. Some days I wake up, and I might as well be drunk, for I really don’t know what day it is or what I have to do. I prop both hands against the shower wall, mutter “this too shall pass,” then proceed to lather leg-shaving gel into my hair.
Oh and sleep? Forget it. I crave it like a meth addict. Might as well have newborn twin girls or something: at least then I’d receive some sympathy for my lack of sleep, and perhaps offers of free lasagna.
And you know what? I’m not the only one. A quick example: just in the past six months, three Intrepid staff members have become engaged (including unions between two staff members and two “might as well be staff” members), the resulting nuptials planned for April and October (and the third too fresh to be determined). Two other staff members plan on living together, which involves a major move and job change for one of them. Researchers are gnashing their eyeteeth to do a case study on this little incestuous bunch, lemme tell ya. This assessment doesn’t include new twin girls and new sons and new mortgages and new restaurants and new graduate degrees and new books and such.
Big life changes. Just among the Intrepid staff, just in the past six months. Can’t imagine what the rest of the hundreds of contributors are going through. Or you.
Some people thrive on change. Call them Category A. They desire the newest, freshest, latest. Ideas zoom through their heads late at night like shooting stars. These people are the risk takers, the thrill seekers, the fast party talkers. They don’t think the light at the end of the tunnel is a train, but a giant spaceship coming to take them to a magical place. Change is their beeeatch, not the other way around.
Others tolerate change. Label them Category B. They don’t ask how high when change says jump. They attempt to make order out of chaos, and usually do a good job of it, even if it means baskets of laundry sit in the hallway for three weeks and they have 257 “new” unread emails in the inbox. They flirt with change, even invite it to stay over some nights, but hopes it picks up after itself and doesn’t leave the toilet seat up.
Those in the third category, Category C, have determined that as long as change doesn’t bother them, they won’t bother it. They are solid, steadfast. It’s not that they dislike change, exactly, but, well, yeah, they kind of dislike change. They are methodical and diligent, and make the most of change when it happens. They’d just prefer it not sneak up and say “Boo!” in a loud voice because that’s just plain rude.
I fall somewhere between A and B, with most of my toes dipping into B. As long as change is progressive, as long as I can get my new routine established, change and I dance a passionate tango, and I’m excited and sweaty over it.
Providing it’s progressive.
As long as I get my routine established.
What does it mean to do, this change? Alter. Modify. Mutate. Transform. Seemingly harsh words to describe trading what you know for what you could know; trading what is predictable for what may be unforgettable. Would we all be a little better off if we populated just one category of change, the one that grabs us by the shoulders and pushes us off the cliff?
Change is the true sustenance of life, a honeycomb that fills us with energy and provides sweetness to the generics we normally accept without question. Even sour changes, like deaths, breakups and illnesses, have a soft creamy center that is fortified by inner strength; the discovery of which is a chrysalistic experience all on its own.
The chaos, the insecurity, the endless rush - even the fear: all that baggage that change arrives with is so very temporary. But the effects leave such an indelible impression, any negativity is eventually hidden from view and, in time, forgotten.
So maybe tomorrow, I’ll find the shampoo bottle. I’ll remember what my husband said about taxes last Wednesday. I’ll get more than four hours sleep at the end of the day. Maybe tomorrow, I’ll be able to write a column that is less funny-peculiar and more funny-ha-ha. Because tomorrow, I believe I’ll switch out change’s Jagermeister for strong black coffee and give it something comfortable to wear.
Change is always a welcome companion, but it’s about time I take the wheel.
Tracey likes to shake things up and then take the lid off. She also likes to keep the peace, especially in a safe, fuzzy place. Writer, editor, producer, yogini, ('cause yoger or yogor simply doesn't work) by day, rabid WordsWithFriends and DrawSomething! player by night. You can follow her on Twitter: @traceylkelley or @tkyogaforyou
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IF YOU LIKED THIS COLUMN...
2.28.05 @ 2:56a
Change is the mistress who hangs me up with leather straps and shoves a ball gag in my mouth and whips me raw. And when she finally cuts me down, I gasp a couple of times, wait for my vision to clear and then say, to my own surprise: "Go again."
There is a sadistic sort of pleasure that emerges through change, if you're willing to wrestle and surrender and finally embrace it -- the deep satisfaction of taking what's been dealt you and finding away to come out not just in one piece, but better than you were before. It's taking lemons and not making mere lemonade, but lemon meringue pie.
Nothing's beaten me yet.
2.28.05 @ 11:41a
I don't think any change has personally beaten me either....but I will say that sometimes, certain changes require tremendous adjustment: in thinking, in perception, in absolution.
I agree: I kind of relish the growth, even if it's forced. I have few regrets -if any- attached to the changes that have occured in my life. Therefore, I don't always think of change as bad, just, you know, different.
2.28.05 @ 12:14p
okay. you've been slammed by change. I understand that. But, I'm still going to whine that you never answered my last email. answer me and I'll send you coffee.
2.28.05 @ 12:49p
I reckon I must be one of those A people you described. After seventy years of living the one thing I can absolutely count on is change. It's been said that we old people get set in our ways, and, well, yes, I bought the same brand of orange juice week after week after week, but that's about it. Did it for years. And just a few weeks ago started buying cranberry juice. Go figure! Lived in the same house for thirty and a half years, and then, BINGO! just up and moved. Had a good reason, but nevertheless, it was a beyatch to actually do it. I suppose you could say I relish change. Yep, I'm an A person. But I'm never bored.
2.28.05 @ 11:58p
I dunno. I could stand a little boredom, myself. Like maybe for a couple weeks. Okay, maybe not boredom, exactly - just a couple weeks to get a few really good nights of sleep in a row, clean off my desk at my own pace without new crap getting thrown at me, and no high-drama stuff from outside my four walls. You know, live like just an ordinary person with no obligations besides the electric and cable bills. Then I'd have to get on with the sideshow again.
I feel ya, Tracey, I feel ya.
3.1.05 @ 8:07a
I really admire Sandra - I do, and hope I can remain as fresh and perky about it all when I'm 70. But as Tim said, it would be nice to live like a "normal" person for a while before the sideshow begins. Again.
Anya, I got your email. :) I have no news yet. But I will most certainly let you know!!
3.1.05 @ 11:23a
Very nice column and very relevant to the current stage of my life. I am moving physically, but I am also hoping for the biggest change of all, human evolution, so that we can have a differently structured society. At this point in my life, I think I am seeking to be a Category C. I think that this category will not be available, if we continue in the direction that we are headed as a country. The changes that will come, will shock everyone, just as 9/11 did. There will be no place to hide. It is indeed time to take the wheel, and steer clear of the approaching abyss.
3.1.05 @ 4:06p
"For the past two months of my life, change has been in the driver’s seat. Naked. Going 89 mph. Chugging Jagermeister while listening to Mexican hair metal."
I don't know, that's pretty damn funny! Enjoy the ride, darling!
3.1.05 @ 6:12p
great column, tracey. i agree -- change can be good, as long as you don't have to swallow huge doses of it all in one sitting. i'm generally a big fan of new experiences, since that's what keeps life exciting. but in the month of december alone i had to deal with: my co-worker/assistant moving to ohio (and hiring her replacement), an office move, an apartment move (with subsequent estrangement from my now ex-roommate), and breaking up with my boyfriend -- with the stress of the holidays as an added bonus. i swear i thought i was going to have a nervous breakdown. i am normally a very laid-back person, and both my mom and my sister commented that they've never known me to be so out of sorts. so right now i'm relishing the calm seas. i need a breather!
3.2.05 @ 12:24p
Change is scary. But I can deal with it. My problem is the actual TRANSITION stage. I'd rather jump from A to C than deal with the actually changing. I hate the limbo between changes and I hate the stress and the mess that must occur during the metamorphosis.
3.6.05 @ 12:40a
With the recent events going on in and around my own life, I realize how complacent I've become. I used to love change, and still do. One of the reasons I settled into real estate as a job was the sense of change.
Sure it's sales (I hate sales), but there is diversity. Every house is different, every buyer or seller, while having many similar and annoying qualities, is a new experience.
What I'm saying is I really want to direct, but at the moment am not working in the film industry.
I'm learning to once again embrace change, and am looking forward to a lifetime of it.
3.7.05 @ 9:45a
Mike, I think you're like my husband. He has a harder time dealing with the transition as well.
Breathe, Katie - breathe! Sounds like the bulk of the mess is behind you.
Robert, I think that's the healthy attitude. Sometimes the change you can create (e.g. real estate) is actually a stablizer for when the other change that just "pops" up. If that makes any sense.