Monday, May 9, 2011

Resistance Is Futile (Get Comfortable with Change!)

By Hugh MacLeod
About two weeks ago, I bought a new laptop.  My old laptop has been hangin' tough with me for almost eight years.  It never crashed, I never lost anything I'd written, it never got a crazy virus that wiped out my hard drive, nothing.  Granted, I am pretty careful about downloading and I barely used it for more than online surfing and creating documents, but in eight years, I cannot say I'd had any major problems with it.

But I needed a new laptop.  The old one just didn't have enough memory to even watch a video.  I couldn't download new programs or update my old ones.  I asked my nephew, who is about to graduate with a master's degree in computer science, to take a look at it and help me pick out a new laptop.  He said, simply, that my old laptop just didn't have enough memory.  It wasn't that I had put so much stuff on it that slowed it down, it just wasn't capable of giving me what I needed at this time.

I gave in, and bought a new laptop.  I'm using it right now.  But this laptop...well, although my nephew assured me it was a pretty good laptop, and all of the reviews were positive, so many people who had previously bought this brand did not like it at all.  People told me stories of how quickly the battery dies, how hot the laptop gets, how it crashed within a short time after they purchased it.  There were so many opinions about this laptop that, every time I turn it on or use it for more than an hour, I get a little anxious.  I haven't truly enjoyed my new laptop.  I keep wondering when it's going to "go" on me, or what will happen if I download iTunes, or if I'm not understanding how to use it, and will it break because I don't completely understand it yet.

The new laptop doesn't have any of my pictures, my music, or the books I've started to write.  It doesn't know anything about me.  Sometimes I have to go back to the old laptop to retrieve information.  It requires effort to plug it in, turn it on, and wait for it to start up to get what I need from it.  The new one and I are still getting to know each other, but the old one knows me, and I understand it.  But I just can't get what I need from it anymore.  Times have changed, technology has evolved, and I must change and evolve as well.

In life, as in technology, we must change; we must evolve.  In order to progress as individuals in our personal or professional lives, we have to be open to new people, ideas, circumstances, feelings, and mindsets.  Sometimes the job you've had for a long time has provided you with comfort, stability, and a good paycheck, but it's not helping you grow as a professional or providing intellectual challenges.  Sometimes the people who have been in your life the longest are easy to keep around because you know them, but they are not willing to support you, or don't listen to you, or they don't want to change or grow, much less deal with you if you're trying to change or grow.  Sometimes the thought patterns you've carried throughout your life are comfortable, but there's always an out of place thought that pops up, telling you that this isn't working, there must be something else, something more.

It's easy to remain in our comfort zones.  It's hard when people don't understand our desire to grow and to move in a different direction. It's frightening when we think we have to start all over again, that if we start a new relationship, we have to create all new memories, or if we start a new job and it doesn't work out, we've lost professional or financial stability.  We hold ourselves back when we continue to live with the fear that what's ahead of us will not work out.  But if we could understand that change is inevitable and will help us grow, we would embrace the new while appreciating the old that carried us through to our present point.  Resistance is futile.  Fighting change is like swimming against the tide, or trying to walk up the left side of a crowded New York City subway staircase.  All it does is keep you in the same place, like a hamster in a wheel, running but going nowhere.  Futile. 

This new laptop is pretty cool.  I will enjoy it for the time that I have it, and if and when I need a new one, I believe that God will make a way for me to get it, just as He made a way for me to get this one, just in time for me to start a new adventure - a doctoral program.  That's pretty much how the universe works, isn't it?

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