Marsha Ingrao at Always Write is the host of WQW (Writers Quote Wednesday). This week the subject she has suggested for us to write about is Taste – as in one of the five senses. Please visit the link to read her post and others who have joined in the fun.
Taste is defined as a sensation of flavor and has seven basic descriptors; sweet, sour, salty, bitter, meaty, hot, and cold. When you think about it, those descriptions sound a lot like conditions in our ever-changing lives. Life runs hot and cold, it is often sweet, sometimes sour, and bitterness has a way of creeping in if we are not watchful. Strong, respected people are even described as being ‘worth their salt.’ I don’t know about you, but I can’t imagine a life without flavor.
“Life is short, it’s up to you to make it sweet” Sarah Delaney
One thing that infuses an abundance of flavor into our lives is change. In his book ‘Who Moved My Cheese’, Spencer Johnson used cheese as a metaphor for the things in life you want that make you happy. Our cheese is constantly moving and how we respond to that is what ultimately makes the difference.
Who Moved My Cheese
I read ‘Who Moved My Cheese’ in 1998 when it was first published. The basic message of the book is to make decisions, even uncomfortable ones, and don’t be stymied by fear of change.
In the book, two mice and two small humans live in a maze. Their food source – cheese, begins to dwindle, so the two small humans head out each day in search of new cheese. They have anticipated the end of their cheese and are being proactive about finding new cheese. However, the two mice fret and complain, lamenting about the unfairness of it all, watching their cheese dwindle away while doing nothing to improve their situation. One day the two small humans don’t return from their exploration. They have found new cheese and are happy and contented in their new location. Eventually, after expending a lot of energy, feeling defeated, and placing blame, the two mice who hung back in hopes that the cheese would magically return make a decision to venture into the maze and look for new cheese. You can imagine how that turned out for them. Or, just read the book.
“Being in the uncomfortable zone is much better than staying in the cheese-less situation”. Spencer Johnson, Who Moved My Cheese
Malcolm and I approach change differently. He frets and worries and weighs every possible outcome while I consider the worst that could happen and throw caution to the wind. Neither method is particularly advisable, but we balance each other well and eventually get to the same place. For what it is worth, I do sleep a lot better than Malcolm. Just sayin’.
This past July when a neighborhood Realtor approached us to sell our home, I got on board immediately. It was something I had wanted for several years. The house was too big, too old, and a maintenance nightmare for two people who love to travel. Downsizing had always been a goal, we just hadn’t fully committed to when that would happen. Our home was a symbol of security for both of us (our cheese) and enabled us to live a comfortable lifestyle.
“The quicker you let go of old cheese, the sooner you find new cheese.“ SJ
It was a scary decision, but in the end, we both knew that selling was the right thing to do. Since then we have been living with Malcolm’s mom, in her very comfortable home, which happens to be in the same neighborhood where our home was. We have divided our time here with frequent road trips and a one-month stay at our local beach to explore island living. There have been adjustments, (on both sides) and things have gone as well as expected while sharing living space with a fiercely independent 92-year-old. But, delaying a decision, or making none at all will not move us closer to finding new cheese. It is time to set off, into the maze.
“Smell the cheese often so you know when it is getting old.” SJ
With no clear path on the horizon to owning the home of our dreams, we have reconsidered what this transition should look like and have extended our forecast. In other words, we have adjusted our expectations. Our new direction includes leasing an apartment for a year. We have signed a lease and will move into our new home in mid-April. While the smaller footprint will not accommodate all of our things, it will enable a much fuller, uncompromised life.
“Movement in a new direction helps find new cheese.” SJ
Cheese Doesn’t Last Forever
This move will not be permanent and only time will tell if it was the right thing to do, but we are excited about the possibilities. Of course, we will continue to refine our thoughts about the future and be on the lookout for the right opportunity. The new apartment complex (still under construction as of this post) is in a great location and proximity to our small downtown area, the beach, and my MIL’s home. It is not ideal, but is anything ever? We are certain that we will know when it is time to explore the maze and move on.
A Few Parting Thoughts
Not much in our world is as it should be right now, but getting a grip on one thing at a time helps.
- change happens
- be adaptable
- complaining won’t improve things
- be proactive and anticipate opportunities that change can produce
- quick adaptation leads to satisfaction
- don’t be afraid to take the next bite of life – it could be the sweetest of all
“When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. When life is bitter, say thank you and grow”. Shauna Niequist