what i’m learning from (not quite) changing

From time to time writing assignments intrigue me. So when I read Robert Hruzek’s challenge to make a change, I thought, “I need to think about that one.”

And so I thought about it for a few days, and then returned to it this week. Suddenly the time to participate was almost gone (so much for changing procrastination). I read the invitation more closely and discovered that we were supposed to make a change in our lives of some sort, a change that would get us out of our rut, out of our predictability. And then we were supposed to write a post about the change.

Last night I was thinking about the project and realized that making a change at the last minute and then talking about the significance of the change is, for me, too simple.

Here’s what I mean. When I was in school it was too easy for me to write the confessional essay after not having done the work: “I know I should have. I was resistant to the idea of this assignment and so put it off. Now, however, I understand why you have wanted us to have experiences and write about them. So, although it is the last minute, here is what I am learning.”

Way too easy for me. Because I almost never changed anything. In fact, my bad behavior (of procrastination) was reinforced.

So I wanted, for Robert and myself, to talk about change in a real way, in a substantive way. But I couldn’t figure out how to do that. Until I remembered that I had written EXACTLY the right kind of post last Thursday. For the month of August I committed to writing every day, along with some other things, and last Thursday I wrote a review of the month. It was perfect. It even talked about not going back, about having made a real change. It would make Robert proud.

Only two problems as I read it through this morning.

1. It didn’t mention the challenge. (But certainly I could revise that link into it and, since it was written within the timeframe specified, I would be fine.)

2. I’m not sure how much I really changed.

Oh, sure. I  wrote a great reflective post. Because of the discipline of writing I had ended up with a book of 31 posts…but I haven’t done the collating I wanted to do. I had a great time hearing from people and working with people…but the contacts have dropped way off this week, leaving me feeling adrift. I was sure that I had changed how I was looking at life and the future…and in the past week I’ve felt chaotic and confused and, well, pretty unchanged.

So now I’m in trouble. I had a great post, which was true then but isn’t now.


Unless the point of talking about what I learned from change is that I discover that change in perspective doesn’t happen instantly, it takes time between the commitment and the permanent change in behavior. Unless I discover that after a period of intense work, the mental confusion isn’t from failure, it is from the need to recharge. Unless I discover that the lifesigns that I am looking for and watching for sometimes have big spaces between them which mean “just keep moving this direction until further notice.” Unless I discover that change is lived in moments and measured in lifetimes.

So I think that this is the post that answers the question, not last Thursdays. This is the one which tells me that the changes in me are making a difference in others.

And that is a comforting thing. For a change.

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4 responses to “what i’m learning from (not quite) changing

  1. Hello, Jon! Welcome to the Middle Zone! Hey, I think you did a great job here – change really doesn’t happen overnight. Oh, sure, the physical “doing things different” part might, but internal change – the part that really counts – well, that’s the part that can change the world.

    Good entry, and hope to see you again soon!

  2. “Change is lived in moments and measured in lifetimes.” – Rev. Jon Swanson

    Beautiful, simply beautiful.

    Jon, I cannot speak to whether your impact on others can be attributed to changes in you. I can only speak to the impact which my friend, is profound.

  3. Jon, you are a man after my own heart (have I said that before?) Just look at the power and impact (and change) you achieve with that one word.


    Stops you in your tracks, doesn’t i?


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