Change. Depending on its characterization, it can be a source of anxiety, excitement, or neutrality. When change seems sudden or random, the response can be fear and worry. When change comes from our own wishes, it can be refreshing. Finally, when change comes over the course of time, it can be so subtle we may not have a traceable, accompanying emotion.

Many of us have felt all three forces of change. We change every day—mentally, physically, and emotionally— and on occasion, certain circumstances shake up the familiarity we become accustomed to. The way in which we perceive change—for better or for worse—can depend on our personal level of openness to experience. Does one prefer conventionality or seek novel opportunities? Does one enjoy learning abstract concepts or prefer traditional styles of information processing? Are philosophical conversations openly invited or shied away from?  I do find comfort in routine, however, on most metrics of the scale I score in the upper ranges. I tend to readily welcome change if I can exercise it on my own terms. This has led me to carry out certain decisions that although bear resemblance to “impulsive” moves— they were simply steps in a new direction. Examples include changing my hair color (many times), opting for certain body modifications (piercings, etc.), learning new languages (French, Portuguese, and Spanish), and progressing my health goals (meditation-practice and exercise efforts).

I believe my relationship with change is prone to transform once I truly become an independent. So far, I have not had to make any life altering decisions because my existence has been on a very structured path set in many ways by my parents. Although I am on the verge of graduation, my parents’ resources in the future (for grad school) will ultimately continue their influence on my decision making and choices. I am thankful for their assistance so far, yet it naturally comes with this outlined condition. The future, post-grad school, will introduce new challenges and questions. Will I still welcome change with open arms when I am wholly in control of my destiny? Are the unlimited choices around me going to provide personal freedom or exacerbating responsibility? Wielding change, for now, is always a stimulating venture yielding exciting results. But even with changes unknown, we must heed the advice of David Bowie. As my idol once sang, one must, “turn and face the strange.”

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