Friday, June 13, 2014

EMBRACING CHANGE FOR A CHANGE

I have always thrived on change.  When I worked, I loved Mondays because I hit the ground running and felt energized by having projects to do and phone calls to make.  I loved Fridays because change - a weekend - was on the horizon.  There were chores to accomplish at home and grandbabies to visit.  If it was different, I loved it!

Now retired, I look at handmade quilts and think, "I have time to do that now!" But change comes slowly to a quilt, and I understand myself well enough to know any quilt would end up half done in one of my drawers alongside the other started and now languishing projects in my craft drawer.  I have no business tackling large projects!  A small patch of quilt turned into a wall hanging might be a possibility, but certainly even that is kind'a "iffy."

So imagine my surprise when I found myself offering to create an index for a 600 page genealogy book. That meant finding every name in the book and inputting it along with each page number where it appears into a computer database.  It was a long project that needed doing, and since I was one of the few who had ever had any experience indexing on a computer, it seemed only right for me to loan my fingers to the project.

If I had any doubts about my ability to stick with it, I knew that my sense of responsibility was stronger than my dread of sameness.  If an index was needed, I would see that one was available!

The final count of names was somewhere around 15,000.  My fingers flew on the keys.  I zipped through those pages one by one - staying up sometimes well past my bedtime just to get another couple hundred into the database.  I canceled lunches with friends because I wanted to get more pages done.  During the time I worked on the index, I left my books unread and my social life unattended.  I can't remember when I had such fun!  That project took a while to finish, but doing it was as much fun at the end as at the beginning.  Next to counted cross-stitch, it was the most repetitious thing I had ever done.  Amazingly, I loved every minute of it.

In fact, since that time I have indexed many more books.  Of all the hobbies I have had in the course of my adult life, and there have been many, far and away the most satisfying to me has been this one - indexing.

To all appearances indexing names should be a monotonous, no-brainer job.  It looks like the very kind of job I should stay away from, the very kind I always have, in fact, hated to do.  But there must be something inside me that really likes to bring order out of chaos, that likes to grab the thrown gauntlet.  Maybe it is doing something that no one else can or wants to do.  Maybe it is just ending up the hero.

Now I don't think that I have changed, but I do know I have found another dimension of myself that I had not known was there.  I have always maintained that as we age, we had best look for all the new experiences we can find.  But I had more been thinking in the line of finally being brave enough to tackle riding a roller-coaster.  Nevertheless, we older folk needn't allow ourselves to be rigid and predictable, always doing the same things because we have always done them.

Up against something we have never done before, we might as well give it a try.  Seniors need not always be the same people we think we are, and the change coming around the next corner may just hold a wonderfully soul-satisfying surprise.  Maybe it won't be indexing, but then, who knows?

1 comment:

Olga Hebert said...

I agree with you. Growth does not happen without some change taking place. I t does seem that fighting change is the chosen activity of far too many, though.