balance_bvcI hate change.

In what’s obviously a change year, that’s kind of a problem.

A lot of the comfortable and the familiar has for various reasons passed on or stopped being there. The Home riding Horse retired due to age and injury. The house is succumbing to entropy–leaks here, broken bits there. Even the years-long writers’ block that’s finally, mercifully unblocked is still–changey. What’s shown up in its place is not like the old writing self. It’s something, or someone, different.

That’s the way of the universe. We’re wired to resist change, because change can burn you or freeze you or eat you. We like stability. A world that’s predictable, that operates on a fixed schedule, allows us to make plans, and prepare for what comes next, and protect ourselves against the difficult or the dangerous.

Of course that kind of consistency can rapidly become a rut, and we can fall into actions or behaviors that keep us from moving forward. We eat the same meals every day, wear the same rotation of clothes, write the same kind of thing. We stagnate.

Water that stagnates becomes a swamp. Routine that never changes locks us tighter and tighter, until we can’t cope at all if something happens to disrupt the daily ritual.

Horses are notorious creatures of habit. One hears of individuals who actually colic if their meals are not exactly on time. Any tiny change in routine or surroundings can cause disproportionate reactions. Change their feed and they can get terribly sick.

Unless you do it gradually. Take your time with it. Give them a chance to adapt.

Unfortunately, change doesn’t always cooperate that way. It can happen in a moment. An accident, an illness, a sudden shift in weather. The horses’ brand of feed goes off the market, their supply of hay runs out or comes from a different farm or was cut in a different field or in a different season.

Really the only thing anyone can reliably expect is that things will change. This horse retires, that one lines up to become the Home riding Horse instead. The constant, relentless, ferocious dry heat of Southwestern early summer gives way to the soaring humidity and torrential rains of the monsoon. The book that never ends will finally end, and a new one begin–with a new set of challenges and a new test of the ever-evolving writing skills.

Change is life. It doesn’t care if we love or hate it. It simply is.




Equilibrium — 14 Comments

  1. Are horses like cats? Can you get them used to something, if you start in when they are young? It is said that you should be sure and expose your kitten to everything that you would like it to be comfortable with, before it is too old. Take it for rides in the cat carrier in your car, put it onto your motor boat, introduce it to your dog, your kids, your angora rabbits, your riding lawn mower.

  2. I think that for so many of us right now, Change is constant. I am re-inventing my existence on a regular basis. And it is so tiring. Carving out a niche of quiet for yourself is essential.

  3. This speaks so much to me right now. I’ve had a fairly stable year so far but I can glimpse changes ahead which trouble me.
    Eldest cat is not at all a fan of change, or even of variety in his routine. Maybe I need to check him for horse ancestry.

    • Cats are a Singularity, which is kind of the ultimate change/antichange mechanism.

      I’m sorry you see things ahead that aren’t so good. I hope they turn out to be illusory.

  4. Well said. I’m going through a lot of change right now, and while I look forward to the end result — I don’t want to go back to what was before — I’m finding the effort taken to clear out the old while moving to the new exhausting. Part of that is moving, but part of it is figuring out how to develop effective new routines, since the old ones are gone.

  5. We, here in Casa, have often discussed that what makes people finally, really old, is they no longer can, no longer will, no longer care, to adapt to all the changes.

    El V has said often that one day he just will not be able to stand to learn how to do something he’s been doing all his life, yet more time, such as yet another new phone, yet another new operating system, yet another change in how to drive a car, etc. These changes don’t happen now even every 5 years or so — but nearly every day.

    Then there are the other huge events that change everything you did, forever, such as 9/11. That was the biggest before-after in our lives, maybe even more so than before-after first visit to Cuba ….

    Love, C.

  6. Any competition for Home Riding Horse, (sounds like “House Elf”), or is it a one-horse field? This is the type of change that can bring along extra benefits to you as the candidates polish their resumes.

    I wish a long, happy, and comfortable retirement for your present HRH. Maybe you’ll have to establish a job title of “HRH Emeritus”. 🙂

  7. Yes, I used to thrive on change, rarely living in one place longer than 6 months, moving to the Caribbean and living in a treehouse, moving to South America to build a house from scratch as I grappled with learning Spanish, lying my way into jobs I had to then learn by the seat of my pants, taking care of my mom as dementia took away her personality…. A lot of it went into material for my writing. But when I think of it all, it just makes me tired; I hope it’s not that I’m too old for that now! I’m so grateful finally to have a home and stable life and terrific husband. But well aware that it all could turn upside-down without notice — so I practice gratitude for the times of grace and quiet. All best wishes for those of you caught in the whirlwinds.

  8. Extremely well said. Like Sara, I have always thrived on change. I am easily bored with routine and happily produce new ideas for my book, other people’s books, for the house, for new employment, new publishers, new states… And I’m unhappy if I can’t act on those ideas. I read all the cutting edge news and have survived in the publishing business because of it.

    That said, I’m slowing down. As much as I love looking at new houses, I just can’t summon the energy to think of moving again. And don’t get me started on any kind of electronics! I love new toys but I’m tired of discovering they’re all built for teenagers.

    So the ability to change may be a type of energy that some people possess in excess and others don’t. But adaptability is necessary for survival.