Joy and Hope go for a walk every morning, before Joy goes to school. This requires Joy to rally half an hour earlier than she used to, and despite all of the teasing she gets about her inability to get up in the morning, she does it without fail and without complaint. (We think it’s funny that she’s managed to get a dog that is not a morning person either. Hope often bolts for Joy’s bedroom when she sees her coat and lead coming out.)
This morning, I went for a walk with them. It was dark and quiet, and chilly. Well, I thought it was chilly. Joy pointed out that, as she and Hope have been crunching their way through snowy mornings where the temperature is well into the minuses, it felt quite mild to her, and we got to talking about how experience recalibrates your idea of what’s normal. Joy’s idea of what’s cold has changed forever now, just as cancer has changed my idea of what constitutes illness and pain.
Although these are dramatic examples, I guess we are all recalibrating all of the time. What’s normal at the beginning of a relationship changes as that relationship matures. What we are capable of, what we are prepared to put up with, what we need to feel content, what we consider to be a reasonable amount to spend on a bottle of wine – all of these alter as we grow and change and learn.
And yet change seems to get a bad press. “You’ve changed” is more often an accusation than a compliment; while “You haven’t changed a bit” is seen as a good thing. (And not only as far as looks are concerned.) The fact is, we are all changing, all the time, or we should be. Life would be a sad and static thing indeed if we didn’t.