“Things do not change, people change.”
Henry David Thoreau
I’m the kind of person who likes change; I really like it. I regularly move my furniture around, change the art on my walls, or simply change walls.
And even though (or because) I spent my growing up years in the same small rural town where I born and subsequently graduated from high school, I have since made change one of the absolute constants in my adult life.
Look at the number of places where I’ve worked: on reflection, I’m bemused by how much I thought I knew at 22. Enough to bamboozle my way into a real estate development firm as its “marketing director”…right out of college. Or perhaps I was the one bamboozled, when I got my first paycheck, right out of college.
That job led to the next one, though, which set me up for my ongoing career (I’m currently living the dream, making a living as a writer). And as far as job longevity goes, some of my work life has been fairly consistent—five years here, eight years there. Of course, I was able to stay at these organizations as long as I did because I regularly changed titles, supervisors, and even locations.
After the eight years and the variety of job descriptions at one company, I moved from my adopted hometown to a college town for graduate school. I had been earning my master’s degree nights and weekends, but that change wasn’t happening fast enough for me. I’m not surprised.
So I sold my house, bought some luggage and my first TV with a remote, and moved into a great basement apartment. I parked my car, rode my bike to class, and taught with an assistantship until I graduated that same year—finally fast enough for me.
The basement stint was in the middle of 13 residential moves in 10 years. Since then, I’ve calculated a total of 18 relocations in the last 18 years—actual physical moves where I completed a change of address with the U.S. post office. I’m sure on some no-fly watch list by now.
During the time after graduate school, I also changed employment five times. In the past, such changes on a résumé would be considered job-hopping. Not anymore, I’m finding. It’s not that loyalty is dead…it’s more that change is king.
When I moved cities (again), I lived with my mother for a while, then moved to my own home. In the next five years I would stay in this home, but I would change jobs a few times, change cars (three times), and change the furniture around in my house almost monthly.
This seemed to be enough change.
Then my mother changed my life when she died on her 89th birthday.
After that, change muscled me around—change was in charge. Suddenly I was laid off from my four-year full-time job; I found a part-time job in yet another city. I slept on friends’ couches at night and in my car sometimes during lunch. I found myself bereft in an unfamiliar, unwelcome whirlwind of change.
Then I quit my job, sold my house, some of my jewelry, and most of my furniture. I bought more luggage, gave away my TV with the remote, and moved to Turkmenistan with the Peace Corps.
In charge of change…
I’m back home now and I am definitely in charge of my change…after two more changes of address, two (pre-owned) cars, and multiple freelance writing projects.
Like Gandhi, I am the change I want to see in the world…(to be continued).