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Why Do We Hate Change So Much?

Tom Egelhoff
The almost finished product. (Photo by Tom Egelhoff)

Christmas is here again and that means change. The cat stand is relegated to the office. The loveseat and recliner move down to make room for the birdcage that was in front of the window where the tree will go. Why roll the birds away from their outdoor view — because the tree has to go in front of the window. Why, because it’s always gone there. Why change? The room almost undergoes a complete renovation so the tree can be in front of the window, next to the fireplace, with the Christmas village extending across the mantle, to create this Currier and Ives display that only two people, two dogs, two cats, and four birds are likely to see.

We are fortunate to live at least two days away by air from any relatives that have even the remotest desire to visit us. Even if they do decide to make the trip, it’s two days here and two days back so that eats up four days of the usual week-long trip. At best there are only three days to hear all about how the ones that are here intensely dislike the ones who are not.

The More Things Change, The More They Remain The Same

How many times have we said to each other, “Why don’t we ever do anything fun, or new, or interesting?” There’s a very good reason we don’t do anything new, interesting, or fun. Because if we did, it would require us to change whatever it is we are doing now. Watch something other than the TV shows we “always” watch — not a chance. Try a restaurant different than what we’re used to — why?

OK, I’ll admit that we do experiment with restaurants, but by the same token the older we get, the more set in our ways we become. Studies claim that you must do something for at least 21 straight days for it to become a habit.

Most of us have a morning ritual. Get up, shower, shave, breakfast, no breakfast, whatever it is most of us don’t even think about this routine while we’re passing through it. We’re on automatic pilot. Any forced change in your normal routine creates a slight discomfort. I’m convinced that the reason everyone returns from a vacation needing a vacation is the anxiety of having to change your routine. Jetlag, sleeping in a strange bed, different foods at different, times, it’s no wonder we go nuts. I want a travel planner that will bring our food, pre-recorded TV shows, my recliner, and all the animals. Now that would definitely be a relaxing vacation and worth every penny.

Some Final Thoughts

Don’t change Social Security, don’t change Medicare, and don’t change the tax rates. We just went through an election where half the country called the other half names for eight months. Then less than two weeks later we are running over slower shoppers to buy stuff we have no earthly need for. But, it seems that we repeat this behavior on a regular basis every year. I guess in the final analysis the changes we do make are not really changes at all. Just different ways of doing the same thing.

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