Activated - - NEWS - By Cur­tis Peter van Gorder Cur­tis Peter van Gorder is a scriptwriter and mime artist2 in Ger­many.

A friend of mine told me this bit of friendly ad­vice in an ef­fort to en­cour­age me to wel­come some new changes in my life. My wife and I had been liv­ing in the Mid­dle East for some seven years, and it had been a great chap­ter of our lives, but we were find­ing our­selves slowly be­ing phased out of our roles into a kind of pre­re­tire­ment. Over the years, we’d grown our roots, and like a potted plant that out­grows its pot, we felt as if we were run­ning out of good ground to grow in. It seemed to both of us that this could be our time to be trans­planted into a big­ger pot—a new place with new chal­lenges.

As of­ten hap­pens, when one door closes, an­other opens. In my case, it was an in­vi­ta­tion to work in Mum­bai, In­dia. I’d vis­ited there be­fore and knew the phys­i­cal chal­lenges, as well as what a re­ward­ing and ad­ven­tur­ous ex­pe­ri­ence it could be. I just wasn’t sure if the ben­e­fits would be worth the ini­tial ad­just­ment dif­fi­cul­ties.

I thought back on what my friend had said about giv­ing change a bear hug. If change could be per­son­i­fied, per­haps it would be a bear. Bears and change have some­thing in com­mon—not many peo­ple would gladly in­vite them into their lives. In some cases, a change from our rou­tine can be as good as a va­ca­tion, but even va­ca­tions can be a lot of hard work. I read some­where that “Ev­ery­body is in fa­vor of progress. It’s the change they don’t like. The para­dox we face is that we hate and love change at the same time. What we re­ally want is for things to re­main the same but get bet­ter.” That’s cer­tainly true in my case.

Some­times it helps to imag­ine what your life would be with­out the change. The al­ter­na­tive to change, just keep­ing things the same, can be just as scary, like the towns dot­ted with the rem­nants of pub­lic phone booths that stand as ghostly re­minders of a once-thriv­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion sys­tem that has now been to­tally re­placed with mo­bile phones. There they stand, silent tes­ta­ments to the adage “change or die!”

1 Did we end up giv­ing change a bear hug and ac­cept­ing the job in In­dia? We did, and that be­gan a won­der­fully ful­fill­ing and ex­cit­ing chap­ter of our lives.

1. See https://ac­ti­

/per­sonal-growth/item/542-de­serted-phone-booths 2. http://elixir­

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