The Old Switcheroo
…by Julie Clark Robinson
“Without change, something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens.”
A person expects it to some degree, whether they are aware of it or
not. You squeeze through the aisle — trying not to bonk anyone in the
head with your carry-on –mumble words of appreciation to the flight
attendants, and step down the ramp into another city\’s version of an
airport. Change is literally in the air, albeit institutional and
somewhat stuffy. You pick up your pace and follow the overhead signs to
your final destination.
But when the month is March and you\’ve traveled from Cleveland to Palm
Springs, you get more than the usual blur of people who look somehow
different from the bundled up, meat and potatoes bunch perched in the
waiting area at your departure gate. When it\’s March and you step into
an open-air desert Mecca, change smacks you in the face. And if you\’re
like me, you snap to attention and lap it up.
What\’s that smell….flowers? “But where are they? I don\’t see any
flowers,” I thought. Did the city of Palm Springs hire Bath & Body
Works to pump their best spring-like scent into the air? Nope, it was
the real deal, I noticed as I made my way from the gate to the baggage
claim and into the mouth of nirvana. Change was everywhere I looked.
Beautiful white peaked canopies marked a skyline made of mountains.
Now that my senses were smiling, even the smallest of changes in
scenery delighted me. In my Midwestern blur of McDonalds and Burger
Kings, I\’d forgotten about Jack In The Box and Carl\’s Jr. Instead of
Kroger and Giant Eagle there were Ralphs and Vons. (You can always
count on Starbucks to bridge the gap, however.) And the sky, the
endless blue thing that was only interrupted by the jagged rocky
snow-capped things. What a concept – to enjoy the aesthetic crispness
of snow without getting my socks wet. But alas! No need for socks! Even
my toes will enjoy this two-day sojourn to a place that\’s infinitely
different from whence they came.
The rest of my trip followed its breathtaking suit, and I was back in
Lake Erie country before my alabaster skin could even pink up. But what
lives on is my reaffirmation that change is indeed good.
I\’ve always known that I thrive on change, but what I needed was
a reminder that even the smallest of breaks in routine can be
incredibly uplifting. After all, I\’ve been known to rearrange furniture
even when I didn\’t need to squeeze a Christmas tree into an already
crowded room. Sometimes a person just needs to stare at a different
wall, you know? One time, I even changed jobs for the simple reason
that I wanted to drive in a different direction every morning.
Okay, so as it turned out, that wasn\’t my brightest move. But I still
believe that after we reach a certain age and life\’s traditional “big”
moments are behind us, we can still shake things up a bit. I\’m not
going to swap my husband for a newer (less grouchy) model or defy
science by trying to have another baby. I like being a brunette with no
highlights, and in spite of the exhilaration I feel when I travel, I
love living in Ohio. Instead, I think I\’ll dig around in the basement
for my Fiesta ware.
Visual Exercise: Take fifteen minutes to rearrange your
family room in any way! If there\’s absolutely no “new” arrangement that
makes sense for the furniture, you can still make some quickie changes.
Take all the books off the shelves and put something else there. Put
the rug away for a while. Remove one piece of furniture completely and
enjoy the space for a change. If after a few days, you simply don\’t
like it, put everything back. But I\’ll bet you had some fun.