It’s called Metathesiophobia, fear of change.
Nick Vinetti, the tough-guy detective hero of one of my favorite Lori Wilde books, There Goes the Bride, had it as a kid. Although he really wanted to learn to surf, he was afraid of the water–of sharks, of drowning, of getting snatched up and taken away from his mom–a self-described ‘fraidy cat. That’s when his mother bought him a little plastic hula doll named Lalule. She told him to give Lalule a shake and it would remind him to shake things up, instead of playing it safe.
It’s one thing to make a conscious decision to change. More commonly, everyday life forces us to change. It often throws us curveballs that we must do our best to dodge.
Two mundane examples. I upgraded my Mac a few months ago (after delaying doing this for a LONG time out of sheer, cold terror), only to find that my computer hated its new upgrade, protesting by shutting down for good (well, okay, for a day), necessitating several hours on the phone with tech support and finally a trip to the Apple store.
Even our most entrenched habits often need changed—at the most unexpected times.
I experienced this recently at my grocery store has been under remodel for the past few months. Last weekend was The Big Change—where all the shelves got rearranged. The resting spot of every foodstuff that I’ve known for years was suddenly now…different. It was so bad that they had people (aka, the Sunday Sample Ladies, except they were handing out maps instead of tasty samples) standing in the aisles for help.
Thoroughly confused, I stopped for a minute to look up at the big hanging aisle signs to see if I could figure out just where the heck the bread got moved to…and I happened to notice everyone else doing the same thing, bumping their carts around haphazardly, looks of confusion and puzzlement on their faces. I caught the eye of one of the aisle helpers…she had the tiniest smile on her face.
If it wasn’t so frustrating, I would have laughed.
I guess the point of this is 1) everyone was confused and 2) you just never know when you’re going to wake up one day and find your bread in the wrong place.
I totally took that security for granted! Nothing is safe.
So change is good. It shakes us up. It reminds us there are situations where we don’t have to be the passive victims of change—we can be the ones to instigate it, to make brave choices, to make our lives happen.
Our hero Nick did that. He put Lalule on his dashboard, where he could see her shaking it up. And the heroine saw her, and she got the subtle message for her own life.
And really…maybe we should be more afraid of things always staying the same.