Change is gonna do you good

Recently, my oldest daughter tagged me in a photo on Facebook. (Don’t worry Mel, I’ll get you back one day. Not for this one, but for some of the other ones you tagged me in!)

Yup, that’s me and my first baby. She looks a bit like Miss Charlotte if you ask me..

The picture, of the two of us, was taken twenty-nine years ago this month. Egad was my hair really that dark, my skin so smooth and wrinkle free? (Insert comment here about how I haven’t changed an iota in the past twenty-nine years. Okay, who am I kidding?)

One friend commented that she didn’t recognize me in the photo at first. I wasn’t surprised. Time will do that to the best of us. We can try to stop the years from rolling by. We can colour our hair, get a face-lift, change our wardrobe, but try as we may, there’s not a thing we can do to stop these changes from coming.

The years bring about change. It’s a given. It’s what life’s about.

Of course most change happens so slowly that we don’t even seem to notice it happening.

Over the years, we change our looks, we change our minds and, we change our outlook on life. Hopefully, once we reach a certain age we start figuring a few things out. The truths I believed in when I was in my twenties, and even thirties, have changed to reflect the person I am today. Life events have a way of changing us on the inside. We grow.

The same is true for the characters we write about.

In every story we write or read, there has to be some change. Just as we change in real life, our fictitious characters cannot stay suspended in time. Change is a necessity, and an important part of every story. An important part of life. It may not always be something life altering (although it may be) but there has to be some sort of change, however subtle it may be, if you want to keep your novel real.

A great example of a character changing is Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. He goes from being a grumpy old coot to a wonderful friend and neighbour. What more could anyone ask for, I say? Most characters in the novels we read won’t go through such a dramatic change, but still we look for something. Don’t we? Change is what matters and if the characters don’t matter to us, the book won’t matter. We may even find ourselves setting the book down never to pick it up again.

I find it a bit interesting that as much as most of us dislike change for ourselves, we welcome it wholeheartedly in the books we read. We can hardly wait for a certain character to have a change of heart, or to accept the changes that have entered into their lives. We even cheer when this transformation takes place. It makes me ask the question, why are we more willing to accept change for our characters than we are for ourselves? Or perhaps you are one of those people who accept change as a part of life. Still, I find this whole concept of change interesting. How about you?

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21 Comments

  1. duke1959

     /  December 2, 2010

    The true sign of old age is when you walk on the floor in the morning and discover those creaking sounds are your bones and not the floor. Change is the one thing in life that is constant.

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    • Well, my floor isn’t making any strange sounds yet, so I guess I’m fine for a few years. 😉 Thanks for subscribing to my blog, duke1959, and for your welcomed comment.. I hope you’ll be sticking around for awhile.

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  2. Hi Laura:

    I generally dislike change, unless it’s for the better…

    I often say I wish I had the body I had 30 years ago, with the common sense I have now…that would be a great combo!

    Wendy

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    • I like that saying of yours, Wendy. Too bad there wasn’t some truth in it, at least it isn’t for me. Many of us only like change if it is for the better, and wouldn’t it be nice if all changes were welcomed right from the start?

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  3. I accepted a long time ago (probably due to my childhood) that change is an inevitable part of life. I don’t fear or worry when it’s gonna come; it’s simply another way to grow and learn.

    In a world where there are few, if any, certainties — change is certain. It will happen whether you want it to or not. That thought is comforting to me, for some reason. And I’ve learned the way I respond to [expected or unexpected] change determines my quality of life.

    P.S. I think you look great! And I’m with you — why try to hide our age? It’s not like all those hair dyes, surgeries and what not change the fact that underneath all of those masks we’re older than the day before, year before, etc. It really comes down to loving ourselves (inside and outside) and ignoring societal pressure to conform to what they consider “beautiful.”

    My gray hair started showing two years ago – it runs in my family. Usually we’re all salt ‘n pepper or all white by 40. I’m 32. Again, accepting the change and having a good attitude about that change is key to continued happiness.

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    • Leah, you have a great attitude about change! Which really doesn’t surprise me.

      No matter what changes come along, we have a choice as to what our reaction to it will be. We can decide whether these changes will be for the better or not. I like to trust in the fact that there’s a power out there somewhere that is working in my favour and that everything that comes into my life I will recognize as, one day, being for my own good.

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  4. Yes, Laura. You are right. Life makes us change, outside and inside. We may become better or bitter. Of course, better is better than bitter. (excuse accidental alliteration). We may not always wear well on the outside, but we can stay young and vibrant on the inside. The young woman in the photo looks very much like the photo in your icon. My first glance made me think it was a photo of your daughter because the young woman in the photo looks so much like you. Ha! It is you but younger. I see kindness in the face of the young Laura, the same kindness that shows in current Laura. Blessings to you…

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    • I agree, Carol Ann, better is better than bitter. 🙂

      Thanks Carol Ann for your kind words that most always succeed in bringing a warm feeling to my heart. 🙂

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  5. I did fight change for so many years. Now I love good change and strongly dislike bad change. The worse is the inability to stop the bad change. There are some things that never change and many of those I wish did. Like my insecurities. Life is a tough journey and if anyone says otherwise, they’re lying. I think change is inevitable and acceptance hard coming. LOL.

    Thanks, Laura. The picture is wonderful. I remember how my little ones would rub their noses into my chest when they were tired. Now they’re at their own homes with their own little ones capturing pictures like the one above.

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    • Many of us do fight change. It’s not so easy to be a “go with the flow” sort of person. I am better now at acceptance than I was in my younger years. Maybe age is mellowing me. I’m not sure.

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  6. duke1959

     /  December 2, 2010

    no problem. you write so well!

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  7. Change for me is a hard thing. I think it has to do with insecurity, but as I go along I am getting more accepting of myself, and the fear that comes with change is diminishing as my trust in God increases. So, I am learning to see change as the adventure of life. Take each day as it comes, see what it brings, enjoy what you can, and learn from it all. There is always something worth keeping.

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    • I rather like that—There’s always something worth keeping..This is very true. I think that learning to accept change through faith that everything has a reason is a real sign of personal growth. I see you growing in confidence more and more, and that makes me smile.:)

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  8. well, I’ve been thinking about this very same thing the last few days. odd. I’ve begun sprouting greys. Which I suppose for 37, is a gift, yet it happened over night, and suddenly I find myself looking at other older women in their 40 and 50s. Scrutinizing them. I kept asking myself what the heck is going on, and I finally realized: I’m looking ahead, seeing the metamorphosis that will occur in myself. And I tell myself change is grand. My mom tells me that I have earned every one of those grey hairs and may I live to see every single one grey. Change means growth in fiction, and we hope in life.

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    • My husband, who is five years older than I, has no grey hair, except for the occasional one that he pulls out quite quickly, I might add. I like to joke and tell him that it’s plain to see who had the easier time during our 31 year marriage.. lol! Enjoy the aging process, Jennifer. Your kids will keep you feeling young for a very long time..

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  9. Change is inevitable and usually advantageous. But sometimes it hurts. I think that’s why I like reading so much. I can experience change through the words, without all the disruptions that I’d have in the real world.

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    • Sometimes change does hurt, at least in the beginning until we eventually adjust to the changes. I like what you said about experiencing change through the words when you read. You’re right, we do experience change when we read…

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  10. Laura J

     /  December 3, 2010

    Change is inevitable! Without change we still would be a one celled organism on the sea floor somewheres…lol…So most changes are a good thing, but some changes are really hard to accept gracefully( like growing older…however it is better to grow older than the alternative!)..and without change I wouldn’t have met you and Judi…enough said… 🙂

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    • Ah, that’s so nice! If you were here I’d give you a big ole hug..

      Yup there’s really only one alternative to growing older….It’s funny because Oprah had a show with a few celebrities on where they talked about aging…Guess I was on the same wave length… 🙂

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  11. I think I like change in my own life. It’s scary, but also very exciting. Sometimes I like not knowing what I will be doing next year. Some things you want to stay constant though: a loving family, friends close by, a roof over your head, even if it’s not the one you’re sheltered under now.

    When a character goes through a change in a book, you still experience the excitement but there’s none of the risk. I guess that’s why you can enjoy changes in the life of a character more than changes in your own life.

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    • I think it’s nice that you like change in your life. So many people say the opposite. And your so right—there are certain aspects in our lives that we wouldn’t want to change.

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