Ad Blocker Detected
Our website is made possible by displaying online advertisements to our visitors. Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker.
Two recent experiences have given me deep insights into change. Or specifically how I deal with it.
Like most great life lessons, the first was based on and about cat pee.
For the last days of 2020 this was my life: cat urine. My world was soaked in it. If there is a better, more poetic encapsulation for this incredibly sour, toxic, tearful year, I don’t want to hear it.
Long story short, I wanted to switch my cats’ litter from the clay type to pine pellet bedding that I had heard was easier on their paws and less likely to be chased around the house.
My fatal mistake when I turned the switch was cold turkey. Anyone with cats knows they can adapt to change just as well as your Fox News-obsessed grandparents. My cats looked into their boxes, saw the new stuff and then looked at me, like what are you trying to draw?
If I had just consulted one of the many cats litter transitioning videos on the internet, I would have known that transitioning is a process. The sudden change I threw at my cats was like someone had suddenly filled my toilet with cedar wood pellets. I would probably find another place to go.
That’s what my cats did.
I put an armful of dripping blankets in the washing machine.
I mean, it was my fault (if your relationship with your cat is not an abuse cycle, do you even have a cat?). As indignant as it was to pour laundry detergent on soiled bed sheets while staring into the distance with dead eyes, I couldn’t really get mad at my cats because I too dislike sudden changes. That’s why I don’t make New Year’s resolutions often. I would love to get in shape, or lose weight, or run a marathon, or literally anything that is good for my health, but to do so it requires significant lifestyle changes and they force me to break the routines I set out.
And for a fearful brain like mine, routine is script. Hitting every point of my daily routine is a better dopamine kick than any drug I’ve ever taken. That’s why I stick to a toxic job for years or eat at the same restaurants week after week. Deviating from the routine is frightening.
As the urine blankets swirled in the soapy water, I got in my car and booked it at the pet store to pick up a bucket of the old trash. When there is an opportunity to withdraw from change, I do so quickly.
The second realization that was about to change came when I was walking through an old box that had been dug out of my storage shed. It moved me through so many movements that I forgot its contents, and so I was filled with a mixture of excitement and apprehension when I discovered that it was filled with papers I used for my English class in the ninth and tenth Had written class.
It turned out I couldn’t speak English well, at least not at first. An article about Hermann Hesse’s “Siddhartha” received a C +. Another assignment – a class essay on George Orwell’s “1984,” which I considered my favorite book at the time – received a B. Based on my teacher’s notes, I did not adequately address how foreboding flows into the subject. and instead just provided a colorful summary of the book. (My favorite line: “Winston meets Julia.”)
I remember getting discouraged by those mediocre grades. During elementary and middle school, I considered myself an excellent student. I was in sixth grade at the 4.0 Club. (As an aside: I didn’t have many friends in sixth grade).
I liked school and found it easy. Well, except math. Pre-algebra can go to Hell. But English in ninth grade was a slap in my mediocre face, a reminder of how low-key I actually was.
However, as I leafed through the box of old papers, I noticed my grades were improving. By the end of 10th grade, my B’s had turned to A’s.
I can’t remember exactly what started this ongoing shift, but it proved to me that at some point in my life I was able to change. And I think I still am as long as it’s gradual, incremental, and patient. For example, I started skateboarding this year after longing for it for a long time but being too scared. At 36, the fear of getting hurt is incredible – you don’t have to worry about health insurance premiums as a kid – but now, after taking my board out a couple of times, I can safely ice skate on a smooth patch Asphalt at a moderate pace without falling. Small steps.
I know this probably doesn’t seem like a novel concept, and “we are all able to change” actually seems like an active motivational speaker rather than a deep one, but it’s the start of the new year after a historically depressing one so i i will roll with it. Not every revelation has to be monumental. Changing for the better is difficult, but I know I can do it.
I know we can do it, even if it takes time. Start by adding just a few pine pellets to the normal litter figuratively and literally. I mean, if I am able to change, then everyone is.
We are not cats.