As a child I had a hard time accepting change. To tell the story, I’d like to point you in the direction of my avocado bathroom suite.
If you grew up with parents from the 70s, then the bathroom I’m about to describe will need no introduction. There was nothing more iconic in a working class household than the floor to ceiling green tiles, green bathtub, green sink, and green toilet that greeted you every time you answered the call of nature.
For the first seven years of my life I bathed in the green tub and washed dirt from my fingernails over the green basin. I felt the chill of the green toilet seat under my cheeks every morning, as I propped up my feet on the trusty green footstool. When it came to bathroom duties, the avocado suite was all I knew.
Until one day I was told it was being replaced. And I couldn’t handle it.
I vividly remember the feeling of panic that flooded through my body at the thought of my beloved avocado suite being ripped from the bathroom walls. In my eyes, this was a room filled with so much more than just porcelain. This was a room with a personality of its own.
In my despair I threatened to run away. I vowed never to use another bathroom for as long as I lived. I even went on hunger strike, lasting approximately 35 minutes until the lure of Nutella on toast became too irresistible to bare.
Needless to say, my protests fell on deaf ears. One by one our bright green fixtures and fittings were replaced by shiny new white ones. And I’ll let you in on a secret…
Eventually, I learned to love my new bathroom every bit as much as I did the avocado suite.
Why then, did I find the thought of this change so difficult? After all, it was just a bathroom. But through the eyes of a child it represented safety, comfort, and the familiarity of everything I had ever known.
As humans, resistance to change is a protection mechanism that is hard-wired deep within us to keep us safe. Our over-thinking, over-analysing frontal lobe is naturally opposed to change; because change represents uncertainty, and uncertainty represents danger.
Think about it from an evolutionary perspective. If you were constantly seeking out new places and new experiences; you’d likely find yourself stumbling into the territory of a rival tribe, or poisoned by the curious flavour of a never-seen-before fruit.
But detach yourself from the thinking mind for just a second, and you’ll see that everything in the known universe is in a constant state of change. Trees shed their leaves in Autumn and bloom again in Spring. Water journeys from vapour to cloud to rain to ice to water once more. Entire planets spin on their axis and orbit their central sun, never once stopping to think: “I like it here. I might stay for a while.”
Even the molecules of skin and bone that you identify as ‘you’ were once something else. Every atom that makes up your being was once part of a mountain or a forest or stardust or an apple. The fictional character masquerading as ‘you’ is ultimately an ever changing amalgamation of ‘non-you’ elements.
And here we discover the paradox: the only thing constant in the entire known universe is change itself.
In today’s world it feels like change is happening faster than ever. As someone who once shed tears over an avocado bathroom suite, I know better than most how overwhelming this can feel.
But what sense is it to be afraid of change, when our very essence is change itself? We are, quite literally, built to change. It’s the only thing we know how to do.
So then we are left with no choice but to fully surrender; to open ourselves up to the magic and mystery of our existence, to the knowing and un-knowing that every moment we encounter will never be the same again.
And as we do so, we realise that change was something exceptionally beautiful all along.
Next time that change feels uncomfortable, remember that it is as much a part of you as the legs you stand on. You can spend your life panicking every time you look below your waist. Or you can learn how to dance.
P.S - the bathroom suite looked a little something like this...