Sheldon Cooper of The Big Bang Theory is not a fan of change. He wants and often demands that his world remain stagnant. His seat on the couch, his comic book store, his friends should not move forward in time because then everything is different for him. He is not a change kind of guy. Last week when Howard and Bernadette announced they were having a baby, Sheldon’s automatic response was, “No! How could this happen? A baby will change everything.” So instead of congratulations and toasts, he whined about more shifts in his life. What I love about this character is that Sheldon often says what many of us just think. Yes, we are happy and ecstatic when our friends and family have great news, but we may be brooding on the inside with darker thoughts. “Wow. How is this going to change things? What about my life? How is this going to affect me? What about my needs?”
That’s the thing about change. It is in constant motion. It keeps chugging along even if we attempt to stand in its way. Even if it wreaks havoc on our notion of what is stable, we often are in denial. But change always wins. Change has the upper hand. Change is the boss. This is life.
Sometimes change attempts to break us. Children grow up. Marriages dissolve. Jobs are eliminated. Friends move. Parents die. Favorite businesses are shuttered. Buildings are torn down. For Sale signs go up in yards. A diagnosis is acknowledged.
And other times change lifts us. Graduation hats are tossed. Engagements announced. Weddings commence. Grandchildren enter. New friends are made. Anniversaries celebrated. Successes congratulated. Life is applauded.
All we can do is weather these turns on our journey. Life is scary, full of setbacks and breakdowns. Sometimes there are sobs and other times raucous cheers. Life is change. We are all on the same road, hurtling toward oblivion, but it is the stops along the way that make it all precious and memorable, because, you see, there would be no butterflies without change.
“Things change. And friends leave. Life doesn’t stop for anybody.” - Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower
“Time does not change us. It just unfolds us.” - Max Frisch