Monday, January 28, 2013

Choice & Change

Good morning, gentle readers. How is everyone? Hopefully, bundled up against the winter chill.

Here, it feels as if winter has finally arrived. There’s a crisp snap to the air when you walk outside and the wind feels as if it’s trying to skin you when you walk into it.

You would think I would be inured to this cold, having spent fifteen years in Alaska. There, it wasn’t properly cold unless, when you walked outside and inhaled, everything in your nose froze solid.

However, I’ve been back in the south for a couple of years now and suspect that my blood has thinned a bit. I haven’t completely lost my tolerance for the cold. When it is in the fifties, I still walk around in a T-shirt with no jacket.

Nowadays, however, with the mercury in the forties, I wear my coat over that T-shirt and, more often than not, consider pulling on a knit cap. I am, it seems, becoming a southern creature once again.

By this time next year I will probably be bundled up like an Antarctic explorer when it is only sixty degrees outside.

We all change to suit our environments. We adapt to the circumstances of our lives. It is, I think, one of our great strengths as human beings, this ability of ours to change and adapt.

Change, however, can be frightening.

When I left my old job to try the writing life, I was afraid. Sure, I put on a good front. Of course, I was confident that good things would happen, and I am pleased to say that they have. However, that doesn’t alter the fact that more than once, lying in bed at night, staring at the ceiling, I worried that I had made a colossal mistake. I had given up certainty for the unknown.

There are still days when I have brief flashes of unease. What if the writing doesn’t work out? What if I exhaust my savings? What if I wind up homeless, living out of my car on the street somewhere?

Even rarer. What if I succeed? What if I become a successful writer and that changes me into someone I don’t want to be? One of those self-important, pontificating old farts that I loathe so much?

We adapt to our circumstances. We change to survive. However, we are not animals. We are not inanimate objects. We have free will and we can choose how we want to change.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, our ability to choose the changes we make, may be our greatest strength of all.

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