Unchanging Change

By Susan Harvey

Change, the only constant in life, prepared me for new beginnings, yet at the same time it taught me to fear the unknown. Two changes have made significant impacts on my life: long-distance moves and technology. I resisted relocation, but learned to embrace it; I embraced technology, but learned to resist it.

Marrying a U.S. Defense Department engineer ensured I would experience a new beginning every two to three years. At first, I didn’t enjoy moving around the country. Breaking up a household and moving a thousand miles cross country was difficult. From NASA in Alabama, to Fort Lee in Virginia, to Fort Hood in Texas, the government moved us at the commanding officer’s whim – your tax dollars at work. I wanted roots, not farewells.

After four such moves, I began to look forward to the relocations: New places to see, new friends to make, new houses to decorate. We were married fifteen years before we lived in a house long enough to wash the windows. What a surprise when I discovered rain doesn’t actually wash them. I also discovered that a long-distance move enabled me to rid myself of demanding friendships and unwanted community and social obligations. When we bought a new house, I didn’t worry about my neighbors. If I didn’t enjoy their company, I would be gone in a couple years. My outlook changed. I embraced change. In doing so, I opened myself to many new friendships and opportunities I would have missed had I not overcome my fear of the unknown.

When technology swept over us, I welcomed it. I took classes to learn to use computers, peripheral hardware and various software platforms. I wanted every electronic device on the market – the newer the better. Discard the old; bring on the new. For ten years I was a computer-literate administrative assistant when most people didn’t know what a hard drive was. When I began teaching, I embraced online classes and used teaching software to teach online classes for twelve years. As I aged, technology became overwhelming, and I revisited my old fear of the unknown: What’s happening in a world where face-to-face communication is rare?

Now that I’m retired, I’ve discovered that I can hold on to some of my old habits and parts of my pre-technology lifestyle. I’ve learned to combine the old with the new and decide which is best for me – a woman of age. I can’t say I’ve completely overcome my fear of the unknown, but when I face change, I do so with a positive attitude, telling myself that something good will come from the situation. Usually, I’m not disappointed – except when I tried to use an iPad.

About this writer

  • Susan Harvey Susan Harvey is a humor writer who teaches college English. She lives in Murrells Inlet, and in her spare time enjoys cooking and reading mysteries.

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