Excuse Me, Do You Have Change for a Dollar?

Occasionally, we really want some change.

When the soda machine isn’t accepting bills and you’re due for a serious caffeine fix. All that stands between you and that Diet Coke is a thin piece of glass and a few quarters. Makes you crazy if you can’t scrounge some coins.

Our change jar.

Our change jar.

I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve raided my change jar, or MSH’s change jar because his has more quarters in it than mine. Usually it’s cause I’m headed to the car wash. Sometimes it’s for the lemonade stand some kid has set up across the street at the park. Rare occasions it’s for the laundromat. Unfortunately, sometimes I’ve raided the coin jar just to buy a gallon of milk. That’s a bit awkward at the checkout stand, but hey, real life happens, right?

The change I’m thinking about runs with a different crowd. We don’t often want or go looking for this kind of change.

Today I’m talking the change we often get when things have been running along nice and smooth. Then BAM! some new twist propels itself into our lives. An illness, a job loss, new responsibilities at work, a child moves out, a relative moves in, a new school year begins, we go back to college, a death in the family or a close friend,  an accident, mental illness, aging.

This favorite saying of MSH used to drive me crazy.

“The only constant in life…is change.” ~ Heraclitus, a Greek Philosopher

(Lately, I’ve added and gravity. And the sun rising and setting, unless you live in Alaska. But that’s off the topic.)

Why did this quote drive me bonkers? Lots of reasons. The main one? Because we moved almost as often as those herds of water buffalo that populate nature shows. Seventeen moves in thirty years. One was across the street, literally. Four were within one mile of each other. From one coast to another coast once. We did stay put for about four years in several places. Almost enough time to feel secure and settled. Mostly I resisted putting up curtains, making the rental place feel like my own, because it wasn’t going to last. Nope, we weren’t in the military, just migratory.

Only thing, it wasn’t predictable like the annual migrations of bovines. Add a couple kids to the mix and predictability and a schedule seemed impossible. Add a couple more and you learn to roll, and weave and ride the waves of whatever comes your way.

Spontaneous and flexible became my new middle names. Easygoing rode shotgun everywhere we went. It had to, or I’d have lost my mind. Oh wait, I guess I did once or twice, early on.

Wouldn’t I love to own a home and live in the same house for the next thirty or forty years? Absolutely!

I envy anyone with roots like that like you wouldn’t believe. But I don’t let it bother me, or I’d go bonkers.

That’s the key to survival. Not letting things bother me.

The winds of change?

The winds of change?

Whether you’ve lived in the same place your entire adult life, or you move often, change catches up to you and happens anyway. Big changes, little changes, it doesn’t matter, life will change and whether you like it or not it will change you along the way.

Sometimes I’ve whined and cried about changes I’ve had to deal with. Honestly, a lot of times I’ve wailed and complained. Did it change the change? No. Did I feel better? Maybe for a second, but continuing to feel whiney only made things miserable.

Sometimes the change excites and tantalizes and I tentatively embrace it. Even then, the change can still pinch or sting a bit.

Do I have any great wisdom to share about change and how to deal with it? Not really. I’ve had some experience with it. It happens. I can initiate changes, I can accept them, I can roll with them, I can stomp around and yell about changes. In the end it’s simply me dealing with life.

I hope I’m changing for the better. I’d like to think others are, too.

What and when the next change waiting on the horizon happens I hope I’m ready. Eye on the ball, alert, attentive, awake, and definitely with my game face on.

“It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.” ~ C.S. Lewis
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