Thursday, May 8, 2008

Change Change Change rerun

Today I changed my normal routine. Not much, mind you, but I did something different. I still did a couple of stretches before rising, I walked to the bathroom and then down the hall toward the kitchen, and then I noticed the rain. Instead of going outside to get my paper, I decided I could do without the warmed over news and read the comics online. I can't do without something to read, so I turned to the New York Times, which I get on my computer every day, but don't always read.

In the process of one click leading to another, I ran across a really interesting article about change. Since I consider myself resistant to change, and it held the promise of small changes having an effect on my overall intelligence, I kept reading. Perhaps you'd enjoy it too.

Walker loves for things to be exactly the same every single day, and we have set his life to suit his preferences, for the most part. It's nice to have the luxury of doing that. I enjoy waking up with the sun, but he likes to stay up late. I can go to sleep early, usually before Leno finishes the monologue, sometimes much before. He can't. In the beginning of his job, it was a real chore getting him up for work.

I soon realized that I had spent twenty five years getting children out of bed and off to school, and I was ready to live on my own preferred schedule, which usually includes reading my paper in my bathrobe, checking my e-mail, and having a nibble. I decided that I didn't want to spend the next twenty five years fighting Walker every morning so he could keep a job. Once he was somewhat established, I talked to his boss about having a regular schedule that would meet the store's needs as well as our family's. Now, nearly ten years later, our mornings work like clockwork.

Except when they don't. Perhaps there was a Happy Days marathon that kept Walker up past midnight or maybe I have an appointment or a grandchild to pick up. Accomodating the unexpected has been a struggle, but we are finally there, I think. I prepare Walker for the known changes well in advance, and he has learned that he has to operate at a different speed if he oversleeps.

For a very long time, Walker only wanted to go to movies he had seen before. I'm not sure how he saw them in the first place, perhaps on my lap with the family, but he really resisted new movies. Ultimately, we dragged him along resisting, but he generally enjoyed the experience and got a new "movie he had seen before" into his repertoire. He expanded this to tolerating movies with actors he knew, then directors he recognized in the credits, and sometimes even the production company

We are encouraging Walker to try new things when he goes out with his attendant, Theresa, on Fridays. His speech therapist changes his exercises from time to time. I offer new things for dinner once in a while. Lately, he has changed what he orders for lunch from day to day. (For the first five years he worked, I think he ate two pieces of fried chicken from the deli at the store every single day!) After his "nightmare on dental street", his daily routine includes diligent flossing and brushing with no nagging from me. He is growing up and discovering that change isn't always horrible.

I hope I can learn from what I read this morning and introduce myself to more changes. It's particularly hard for me as I age. I know what I like, and I like what I know, just like Walker. I'm most likely missing out on a lot, though. I think I'll order something different for lunch today.

Blessings, Janie

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