Etch A Sketch

When I was a kid the Etch A Sketch was a popular toy. Basically it was a flat screen that you held in your hands with two control knobs on the bottom corners. The knobs controlled a stylus that would move through the aluminum powder and create a line. With the Etch A Sketch you could create lined drawings and the best part was that you could completely erase your work anytime.  To start over all you had to do was shake the Etch A Sketch and everything you had drawn would disappear giving you a clean fresh slate. 

Recently I’ve stepped back and taken inventory of my life analyzing how I spend my time. Now at the age of 50 I have decided that it’s time to shake up the Etch A Sketch, to make some changes and start over.  The problem with the Etch A Sketch is that as it got older some of the lines seemed to be etched in deeper and these worn in patterns were very hard to remove. Sort of like our own personal habits, the longer I have done the same thing over and over the harder it is to stop. What’s baffling is that this holds true for negative behaviors that I know I should erase. Sometimes we simply do things because that is the way we always did them. There is comfort in routine and this is what often keeps me from changing even when I know that I should.  I have to remind myself that there is no adventure in habit, and there is nothing new in tradition. We make choices each day that either solidifies the etched groove in our life or we choose to change. For me the real challenge lies in the uncertainty of change, who will I be? How will I live? I want to turn to the back of the book and read how it ends before I start. I want some guarantees, spare me the journey. There is a guarantee, you can always change. You can change now and you can change again tomorrow. Wow, we can change anytime we want to.

“When patterns are broken, new worlds emerge.” – Tuli Kupferberg