Mildly connected thoughts on adapting to change.
When I was a kid I remember my Grandma teaching me to swim better, the memories are not of a family swimming pool but at a beach out in the (what seemed like) very team ocean! The routine would be that she would stand in the water with her arms out and get me to swim towards her. However, the closer I thought I got the more she seemed to move backwards. It was a goal I could never reach, she wanted me to swim closer to her but kept moving away. It felt very unfair at the time, she could stand in the water and I could not. Grandma made the goal clear but did not define the rules for her nearly enough as I would have liked.
I feel this story sums up my struggle with the changes of life, the goal is somewhat clear; make a difference, see lives get better because of my influence, connect others with Jesus. However, the rules have been far from transparent, even outright inconsistent from person to person and week to week.
Adapting to Changes in Technology
One area I have had the ability to adapt to change well in is in the area of technology. This has come naturally to me somehow and has helped me massively through my life. My first real interaction with a computer was Windows 3.1 around 1993, I was in grade 3. I remember being fascinated by the computer’s mouse, moving and dragging things around on the screen. The right click was what excited me the most, in every window you had a world of new options just one click away. I was curious about how the mouse worked so I pulled it apart — got in trouble — and put it back together again. I traced the cable to the back of the computer and found a world of new connections, each with a unique icon and profile, it entranced me. This curiosity helped me in future years as I was the friend or family member usually called upon to fix something with the computer or work out what adapters were needed. I would be the one who would take apart the ball mouse to clean it and put it back together again (those who had these would know what I was talking about). Or the one who would be able to communicate the difference between the various generations of mouse ports (Serial, PS1, PS2, USB) and why mouse X would not work with computer Y.
The change of technology has continued at an incredibly rapid pace throughout my life. The computer I am on now (2016 MacBook) was unfathomable to me even ten years ago. Windows 3.1 required 1MB of RAM (computer memory), the recent release of Windows 10 requires 2GB, a factor of 2000. How we communicate has gone through monumental shifts throughout my lifetime, I still remember the Telstra Touchtone landline phones from when I was a child. The world now runs on mobile, with the Internet being the framework for essentially all our services to connect and communicate with us and each other. GPS is so common, we are coming to expect it in our watches, a series of satellites that are in orbit around our planet that align with one point on Earth and then communicate with our devices so we can pinpoint our location to 10-50m accuracy.
I love to read about, attempt to understand and explore new technologies whenever possible. I am thankful that I am around at a time when this has come in handy and hope that I continue to adapt to future changes in technology.
Then there are the other things that do not come as naturally to me, take for example; Avocado . This incredible fruit was a black box to me until only a few years ago. I always thought the green and gooey substance was offensive, my stance was that if you were going to spread something on your bread you have two options; butter and/or peanut-butter and the world was simple.
Then, my wife (whom I adore) slowly started to convince me of the benefits of this amazing fruit. Finally, I tried it, and I too started to come to the avocado party. Now, I love it, and life is not as simple as I need to go to cafes with great avocado on toast, not just great coffee. However, life is more fun having tried this new thing, stepped out and explored something scary and reaped the rewards.
Not everything has the same reward, for example, Wasabi, it is green and sometimes spread on things — but it will not be something I look forward to in a meal. See, the rules are inconsistent!
Change is hard. Some people talk about our brains being like a muscle that strains as we change and learn. I like the metaphor of our brains being more like a giant building, each brick and each foundation being placed by the experiences before it. To rebuild the building takes a heap of effort, it can even seem impossible to change the foundations placed so deep, but anything is possible.
My wife and I have embarked on a journey this year that will be fun, crazy and also scary at times. However, I want to be better at change, I want to be better at being ok with the rules not being consistent and life being uncertain. I am not sure that I want all the hard parts, but I know that the good parts will be worth it.
I think the part that scares me the most is knowing I will make mistakes as I learn. I love to be comfortable in the areas I know, whether it is my current technology skills or my family, friends and home. I think I also love the safety net of not making what could seem like silly mistakes to others. Here in another country, that safety net is non-existent, you are forever making silly mistakes. Like not weighing the fruit at the separate fruit weighing station at the supermarket.
However, I want to be cool (well, more cool) with not getting things right all the time. I think that is inherent with the ability to change and grow, making mistakes is part of the fun. Beyond all of that, I also am so excited about seeing new places, drinking new types of coffee. Right now, I am drinking some odd concoction of coconut foam and Vietnamese coffee and it is epic!
The pictures of jellyfish are of majestic, glowing creatures that cause no harm. The reality is far from this picture, I remember my sister getting stung by a Common Bluebottle Jellyfish and it was far from fun. One time when I was at the beach with my Grandma, I remember seeing jellyfish (just box jellyfish, they still sting but not too bad) all around me. I was so scared and started freaking out about what to do. My Grandma was so relaxed, it was like she did not even care that we were surrounded by monsters! She took us kids towards the beach slowly and none of us got stung, just a bit scared. My grandma has always been calm in chaos (the unknown is chaos before our brain understands the patterns). I admire that aspect of her and aspire to be more like that in my every day as I continue to head into interesting times.