Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Kirby: Even small changes tax the mind, soul
First Published Mar 08 2012 01:01 am • Last Updated Mar 12 2012 09:55 am

The world must really be going downhill. Here I am in the Sunday paper. I’m not sure if this qualifies as keeping the Sabbath day unholy, but it has to be close.

I didn’t see the move coming. My editor called last week with "some important news." Figuring the next words out of her mouth would be something like "you’re fired," I hung up on her.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

She called back and said/yelled that I was only being moved. My normal Monday column would become a Sunday column. When I began to whine about it, she hung up on me.

Moving my column is more difficult than it sounds. It requires restructuring my entire week. I have to write on Monday for Wednesday, on Tuesday for Sunday, and on Thursday …

OK, it’s not that complicated. The truth is that I had become too comfortable. My normal routine had made me lazy(er). It was past time for another wrinkle.

Normal people don’t always handle change well. They like routine because then life becomes predictable. And if it’s predictable, it can be micromanaged. It’s a lie, though. Life isn’t intended to be lived in a set of ruts.

You’d think that people with extremely short attention spans such as mine would welcome change better. We rarely stick to one lane. We enjoy driving all over the road and even occasionally into the ditch. But even ditches can become ruts.

As a military brat, my life seemed like anything but a rut. We moved a lot, so often that I sometimes awakened in the morning and had to think about where I was.

By the time I was 19, I had lived in 21 homes in two hemispheres, three countries, five states and any number of parallel dimensions.

My formal education consisted of four elementary schools, three junior highs and three high schools. I was always the new kid. Skinny and bespectacled, I spent most of seventh grade with my underwear hooked over my shoulders.

story continues below
story continues below

Adulthood didn’t bring stability. I changed jobs/careers a lot. I’ve been a rat catcher, janitor, car washer, missionary, soldier, security guard, carpenter, cop, writer and a partridge in a pear tree for a summer I still remember fondly.

Marriage didn’t mean I settled down. Since then I’ve been fired, suspended, sued, shot at (and missed), stabbed, blown up, badly injured and operated on no fewer than a dozen times, all for stuff my wife says wouldn’t have happened were I even just a little bit smarter.

With all this time spent driving in the ditch, you might think I actually enjoy change in life. Not so much. It hurts a lot more than it used to.

It may be age, but there’s also the fact that a growing number of people have come to depend on me being somewhat stable — wife, daughters, grandkids, editor and even readers.

Still, none of us controls our life nearly as much as we like. That’s because it isn’t meant to be lived on cruise control. In addition to being inevitable, change is good. It’s what gets us to think and makes us more flexible.

And speaking from lots of experience, the less flexible you are, the more change hurts. See you next Sunday.

Robert Kirby can be reached at rkirby@sltrib.com or facebook.com/notpatbagley.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.