My cat is fifteen years old. I adopted him from an Animal shelter when he was a 6-month-old kitten. He is not a lap cat and he is somewhat aloof. However, occasionally, I feel his affection when he stalks me in the driveway, or when he ambushes me from behind the maple tree in the front yard. He is definitely slowing down, but I still see him climbing the trees and chasing the lizards in the backyard.
One thing, however, he did not lose over the years is his curiosity and openness to new things. Changing the place of the litter box – no problem. Moving his scratch post in the other room – perfectly fine. I grew up on a farm and I observed this time and again with other animals as well. They were highly adaptive and did not resist changes in their environment or routines. So why is it that humans resist change so much? Why is there so much anxiety and discomfort to even minor changes in our lives?
We are creatures of habit, we all have heard that, but there is also something else. We let our fears take the driver’s seat, because we have conditioned ourselves to anticipate risks and to constantly devise plans to avoid them. While this serves as well during life threatening situations, such catastrophic events, thankfully, are very rare. We are afraid to let go and try new things, because we fear unknown future scenarios that we have not planned for.
That’s all fine, one might say, but what about the important meeting that I have tomorrow? What if the meeting does not go well? Contingency planning is good and common-sense dictates that we should prepare for the meeting. However, how the meeting will unfold and what the final outcome will be is beyond our control. And after all, if we don’t get the outcome we hope for, at least we get a closure and we can move on to our next endeavor.
Life is a constant change, no one likes pain or hardship, but these moments are bound to come at some point in our lives. Accept and acknowledge the discomfort, don’t dwell on it, and don’t fight it. Grab life by the horns and ride it with a smile.