Right now we are just about to move house (again), I hate to think what the count is – I stopped counting after 30. It got me thinking why most of us resist stepping out of a rut and prefer instead to fantasize about change. Simply fantasizing about change requires no risk and may offer some short-term relief but the long-term affect is the deadening of a soul. Imagining change but never doing anything about it is a dream killer.
There is a story in the bible about a bunch of people enslaved by Egyptians. A guy called Moses does some lobbying and negotiating to free all the slaves. During the repression all the slaves could think about was their freedom and they would have traded anything to have it. Not long after Moses freed the slaves they began to reminisce about how the Egyptians feed them and looked after their basic needs. It is remarkable but unsurprising that these slaves were considering giving their recent freedom back in preference for security – it is so human to prefer what is known.
In the 90’s I played in many covers bands as did many professional musicians at the time. Many of us came from original bands because work for artists who created their own songs was drying up. Australia was in a significant recession and many yearned for the ‘good old days’ where money was plenty.My friends and I would grieve over the punters preference for covers than original songs then one day the penny dropped. Punters reminisced about the good old days through the sentimentality of songs! They didn’t want to hear something ‘new’ because ‘new’ represented the unknown and during this uncertain time people were attracted to songs that reminded or triggered memories of happier days.
The most intoxicating thing in my life that causes the most distraction is the pull towards the past whether it was good or bad. Part of the reason I like the past is I know what happens in the story, it has boundaries, there are no surprises and therefore less anxiety. I know how unhelpful it is to glorify the past and resist the future but the allure is like leaving that one last bit of chocolate on the plate.
We have been processing our new move with our girls attempting to acknowledge the anxiety we are all feeling but also trying to celebrate the future. It is almost like reprogramming yourself through your kids – is that bad?
So now I have to manage my sentimentality as we pack the boxes and decide what gets thrown out and what stays – it will be a war with the girls in my life!
This is what I do know…I would rather live with the anxiety change can bring than fall into a repetitious cycle that convinces me the past was somehow better than the future.