I have been thinking about change lately, how we perceive it and what change roles we play in life. We might be participants, victims, or agents of change depending on the type of change we experience. Three types come to mind:
First, there are changes we expect, cycles and patterns with known outcomes that give our lives stability and rhythm. Nature is the engine for much of the normal change we perceive and provides the template in which we organize our activities. This time of year is a perfect example of visibly reliable change: days grow shorter, temperatures gradually drop, and leaves start to turn.
Then there are the changes we don’t expect: illnesses, layoffs, natural disasters, deaths. Though we may encounter such moments in varying degrees throughout our lives, nothing can fully prepare us for the experience of dealing with those surprises when they happen. Today marks the eleventh anniversary of one such event.
The third type of change is what we initiate ourselves to reach a desirable future state (or move away from an undesirable present state). It might take the form of a lifestyle tweak, like a new pair of glasses or a healthier diet. On the more significant side, it might be a business venture, a marriage, or a move to a new city.
Each has a distinct effect on our lives. Too much predictability leads to boredom and staleness. Such phases of clockwork repetition where the same changes happen repeatedly amount to no change at all. The result is sapped creativity and diminished motivation. Unexpected change, on the other hand, throws us completely off balance — it forces us to adapt quickly to a new reality. Without the right support or ability to navigate the change, it can be crippling. But with survival comes the resolve to face other difficulties in life and to help others in crisis.
I’ve had my share of the first two types of change over the past few years, and I’m ready to stir up some changes of my own. How they will unfold and what they will look like is not entirely clear, but my goal is to dig deeper into work I care about, grow my repertoire of skills and knowledge, and break some well-worn patterns. Some small but noticeable changes on this website will include a new design with more content, more frequent activity (a recurring promise, I know), and a few new projects and creative experiments.
More to follow soon…