By Matt Larsen
We all love to hate it.
Particularly in this season filled with mittens and cocoa and heartwarming memories, we don’t look on change with deep longing in our eyes.
And we’re not talking about the nickels and dimes jingling around in your pocket.
We’re talking about the change you have to make every morning from warm, cozy blankets to cold, crisp blue jeans, from paying less than a dollar for a gallon of gas to almost three, from sitting half-awake in a classroom to sitting half-exasperated in a cubicle with an angry customer or boss griping in your ear.
And then there are other kinds of change.
Like when a spouse loses a job, a childhood friend gets diagnosed with cancer or a car crash takes a loved one. Big or small, when change comes knocking we fidget and squirm, we run and escape, we cry and mourn.
We do this for good reason with many kinds of change. Our bodies are made to cope by way of tears and long conversations.
Yet, in all our deep-seated desire to outrun change, we simultaneouslxy can’t wait to grab a front row seat as we tell the world to change around us.
With popcorn in hand, we cozy up in our comfortable La-Z-Boys to watch our favorite show: the lives of those around us (and if we are feeling anti-social, we’ll settle for a sit-com). We love nothing more than to watch other people’s lives change dramatically around us because we can feel a part of the change without really changing much.
We watch that guy down the hall go build a well in Africa and feel a part. We watch our philanthropy chair change majors after meeting the kids he is serving halfway across the world and we feel a part. We watch our older sister move to the most poverty-stricken county in the U.S. to use her economics degree and we feel a part.
We even like cheering on that change when it comes to change in our government. We watch and cheer because of that old phrase we laugh about called “living vicariously.” I can think back to so many times I have enjoyed a hearty chuckle at the notion of parents (or other older family members) living vicariously through their kids as they appear to maintain a death grip on the past.
Then one must consider what living vicariously means in its simplest sense, and that is living through the life of another.
I believe we are so quick to watch and chant for change yet also so quick to run from it in our own lives. Of course, hold onto your memories. But we can’t ask the world and those “in charge” of it to change when we ourselves are scared to commit to changing our sheets every other week.
We are scared what life without iPods and armchairs and all-you-can-eat meals might look like.
We are scared of what living off a dollar a day in a neighborhood teeming with sex slavery might actually feel like.
We are scared of what “that” risky step, to which every inch of our body and spirit cries out “Yes!” might ask of us. So we instead choose to listen to that nagging voice of doubt we so quickly label reason.
We have to change.
It’s plain and simple and completely outside our control whether our lives will change. It’s unavoidable.
Our question is whether we simply watch lives, including our own, change around us or choose to take the little steps toward a life that embraces and dare I say even longs for that change we so love to hate.
Matt Larsen is a junior journalism major from Katy and a sports writer for The Lariat.