Change or Die

I’m watching a mini-marathon of “Interior Therapy with Jeff Lewis” on Bravo. There’s a man on the show who has lived in the same house for all of his 37 years on earth. He grew up there, never left home and inherited the house after his father died and continues to live there. He’s moved in his new wife and believes it’s absolutely normal to continue to live in the house his father built for the rest of his life.  He expects his new wife to live in this house and raise their children there.  He also expects that his wife not be able to make any updates to the house. While he was kind enough to grant her permission to replace the carpet in one room, she’s forbidden to make any other changes, including donating his dead father’s clothes, which seem to litter the entire house.

This episode fascinates me for a couple of different reasons. It fascinates me because this grown man thinks it’s okay to live in a castle. Oh, did I forget to mention that? The father built an actual castle, complete with a moat. There are shields and armor everywhere. All of the décor is dark, heavy woods and metals . . . exactly what you’d expect to see in a castle. And this grown man thinks it’s ok to live in a fairytale castle at 37 years old.  I find his wife, who I’m almost positive is a former contestant on America’s Next Top Model, to be a bit delusional as well.  This man was living in this castle when they met. He’s clearly not good with change, and admits as much. So why would she expect that he would all of a sudden change just because they have a piece of paper saying they’re stuck together? I’ll save her for a future blog.

I am always confused by people who are afraid of change. I’ve moved a lot during my career.  Oftentimes, I moved to places where I didn’t know a single soul.  I once had a high school friend say to me, “I don’t know how you do that, just go somewhere and you don’t know nobody.  Wouldn’t be me!” (sic) For once in my life I exercised a bit of restraint and avoided saying “And it wouldn’t be me stuck in this town with no education working a dead-end job, married to a bum and spending my spare time bickering with his sidepieces and other baby mamas.” [Sometimes I go too far] Instead I said, “I’d rather go out and see what the world has to offer than sit in one place and wonder what could have been if I hadn’t been afraid.”

I often wonder how people get this way.  What happens to a person to cause them to become so complacent? What makes them afraid to know if they’re capable of more? I fully understand the concept of being “happy with what you have.” But what about when you’re not happy? If you’re unhappy in your current situation, why not try something new? The man on the show suffered from depression. He was finally able to admit later in the show that he hadn’t realized that just living in the house used up so much of his energy, that he wasn’t able to properly focus on anything else. This is a completely understandable explanation.  But I still wonder about all the people I know who complain about their current situation but refuse opportunities that could change their current situations just because it forces them outside of their comfort zones.

I am a firm believer in the notion that “the only constant is change.” I’m able to easily adapt to most situations and either find a way to be okay with the change or create another change that I can be okay with. When we look back over time, we see that those creatures that were not able to adapt to new environments ceased to exist.  In my estimation, either we change or die.  Perhaps not literally (immediately) but we kill off an important part of ourselves. We kill off the part of ourselves that allows us to challenge ourselves.  And once that part of us is dead, we might as well go sit in the cemetery and wait to be buried. You’re not really living anyway, so why not?