Puppy Steps?

Image created using StoryBlocks under license

Why is it that change is so hard? We know what’s right, what’s wrong, and what needs to change. Baby steps, we tell ourselves. One small movement leads to another and then another until one day … (insert sounds of trumpets heralding). But it doesn’t work that way, now does it?

I realize I’m generalizing and labeling the world with my own personal concoction of procrastination and laziness, but I believe that maybe I’m not too far off. Especially in these times of covid, lockdowns, and the politicization of illness and death. Folks tend to cling to what they know. And cling hard. Hell, we can’t even vote in representatives who represent us. Instead we vote in high draft picks so our favorite team can win the Super Bowl. Because change is hard.

There are so many types of change. But I’m going to focus on the personal here, because … well, because it’s important to me these days. A friend remarked recently that she couldn’t figure out where I found the time and energy to write, make videos, plan, help others, etc etc etc. And I smiled, thinking I’m all that. But the truth is, those things are easy. They don’t require change, just repetition. So that’s all I do, that which I’ve done a hundred times before. Tweaking here and there, calling that progress. But for the harder things? They lay hidden and buried well below the pile.

I’m certainly not going to list all of my woes here (other than to tell you that the impetus for this story was waking up at three this morning with a mouthful of stomach acid and Grape Nuts). I have a lot of things I put off, including how to beat procrastination. But my general health is a big one. Maybe for you too. Or at least, I’m betting you have something you’ve only been tapping at half-heartedly. Something that needs to change and … change is still hard, right?

I have no answers for you. Otherwise I wouldn’t be coughing from an acid-burned throat right now. I wouldn’t feel the way I do in my own skin this morning. I tried envisioning “baby steps”, but that sounded trite. So I switched in puppy paws and that sounded even … trite-er (if that’s a word I can make up for the moment). I honestly don’t know what it’s going to take. Life could be so much better … if only. And yet, here I sit whining into my keyboard. And the world still chooses to fight battles which have no purpose other than to make one side feel good (and also to line the pockets of a select few). Real change needs to happen, both inside ourselves and globally.

Think about it for a second. What’s the absolute worst that could happen? Suppose we do try to save a few trees? Or I decide to eat a better meal plan? What if we elected to office some folks who cared more about fair play than making another touchdown … how bad could it be? Worst case is it doesn’t work. Which is the exact same outcome we’re experiencing right now. We’d still be in the same place.

Maybe that’s why we fight change. Fear. Or maybe we believe that no matter what we do, life will remain pretty much the same. And if outcomes will be no different, why not stick with the others we know?

How about … “Maybe something WILL work this time?”.

I think we’ve all been in situations that feel so stagnant or large that we just accept them. We complain about our lots in life, sure, but never complain enough to push at the rock that blocks our path a little more instead. I certainly feel that is the case with me (and with voters within the US system of government, by the way). It’s only going to get harder to improve my health and wellness as I age … and I’m 60 now. I might as well plan on mitigation instead, right? What heartburn pills work better? (Instead of not getting heartburn in the first place).

Again, I don’t have answers. I’m searching for them. I only know that inside myself, deep inside, I’m still a puppy. I want to play and fall over my still-too-large feet. I want to wonder at my mistakes. Perhaps it’s time to try something really different and new. Push at that rock one more time, just maybe from a slightly different angle. Because that puppy isn’t going to remain a puppy forever.

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