People Do Change


With 2024 just a hop, skip and a jump away, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’m hoping for in the new year. Thinking about these goals means change. Changing what I’ve been doing, so I can get different results.

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you always get what you’ve always gotten.”

This quote and similar ones have been attributed to many people, including Jessie Potter, Jackie “Moms” Mabley and Albert Einstein. We may never know the truth of exactly who said exactly what, but the essence of this quote resonates with many people.

It all comes down to change. We can’t keep repeating what we’ve done in the past, if we want something new in the future.

When I was young, I remember always hearing people say, “People don’t change.” The older that I’ve gotten, I’ve come to realize that there is a lot of nuance to this saying with a few themes.

You Can’t Make People Change

One level of the saying that people don’t change is sort of true. What is most true would be to say, “You can’t make people change.” This is so absolutely painfully true. No matter how much we try and want to change someone, if they aren’t willing, there is nothing we can do.

We have to learn to let it go and maybe they can decide to change on their own. Whether we want to wait around and see if they change is up to each individual. Depending on what changes are needed and how they impact our lives, it might be best to make a change of our own and remove ourselves from their life.

Life Will Change You

In a way, it’s rather quaint to think that people don’t change. Even if we don’t want to change, things will happen to us over time that we could never expect. Accidents, illness and time will change us. They will definitely change our physical bodies.

Nobody stays young forever. Even if you are lucky enough to never deal with any accidents or illness, if you live to be 85 years old, your body will be different than when you are 35 years old. There will be many changes.

If you win the lottery, get a big promotion, get married and have children, you will change. The circumstances of your life will be different and usually it’s impossible to stay the same. A “new you” will be born. Our minds and ways of thinking will change and we adapt.

This reminds me of a post that I saw recently on Arielle Lorre‘s Instagram. I don’t follow her, so this just randomly came up in my feed and was quite serendipitous. Because I can be a worrier and need to find ways to stop. Below is what she says.

“I had a clinical psychologist on my podcast, who shared the best advice for worry that I’ll never forget. She said, ‘The version of you that will handle that tough thing – if or when it happens – will be born into existence in that moment … trust your future self to handle future problems.'”

The comments on her Instagram post are mixed. Some believe it and others say that sometimes that future self cannot handle those problems and are broken by them. I can’t argue with them, because sometimes life is too much and people literally die.

But also, sometimes we do rise to meet seemingly impossible circumstances. Over the past few years, I’ve dealt with a lot more than I thought I could. At 59 years old, I am a very different person than I was at 29 years old. That version of me was not ready to handle what I’ve handled over the past few years. And I’m so glad that she didn’t have to.

Live & Learn

This is sort of similar to life changing you. Through our life experiences we learn new things and sometimes realize that we were wrong. Maybe we were wrong about lots of things and can’t do much or anything to change the past. If we can seek forgiveness and make amends for what we’ve done, maybe we should, depending on what that entails. But that is very hard and can cause pain for ourselves and maybe others too.

Sometimes all we can do is accept what we’ve done and strive to do better in the future. I think this is something that most of us will go through at one time or another. If we weren’t the one that did wrong, we may have been the one who was wronged. Then we have to decide how to proceed if someone apologizes and seeks forgiveness from us.

We get to decide how to move forward. It took me a long time to truly realize that I’m the boss of me and act accordingly. I wish that I had known sooner. It now seems obvious. But over the years, I’ve realized how often I did not behave like I was the boss of my life.

I’m glad that I’ve had the ability to self-reflect, keep learning and change — often on my own terms. I’m grateful for what my past self was able to do to get me to the present. And I’ll trust in my future self to handle the rest.

A Few Unexpected Things

I’m so happy that I finally have this book! For the last few months, I kept hearing about Before the Coffee Gets Cold, by Toshikazu Kawaguchi and wanted to read it. I put it on hold at the library and it came in much sooner than expected. I just started reading it and was immediately pulled in with the first page. A very good sign!

So often things are unexpected and bad. When they’re unexpected and good, that’s the best.

That’s been happening with some plants. Overall, I have a green thumb and do extremely well with most plants. Except for a few. Two plants in particular that everyone always says are so easy to grow were never easy for me. Years ago I gave up on African violets and snake plants. I tried so many times and they always died. But now, I’m apparently a snake plant charmer and working magic with African violets too. Very unexpected!

Two movies that I watched recently had the exact opposite effects on me than expected. Part of it may have been that my expectations were too high for one and super low for the other.

When I first heard about the movie Past Lives, I wanted to see it immediately. It sounded perfect! A friend and I had planned to see it in the theater when it first came out. We could never get our schedules to work together and we missed seeing it.

Now it’s on Amazon Prime, so I watched it last week. I was disappointed. It wasn’t bad, but I expected to love it. It was somewhat slow, with some long drawn out scenes that didn’t need to be and started to feel tedious. I was glad to have not seen it in the theater. Further, the people that I wanted to end up together did not. It’s a love story that kind of broke my heart.

Also, somewhere in my mind, because of the title maybe, I was thinking time travel or magical realism, which are two of my favorite genres. It had neither. That’s on me. But it was a further disappointment.

The other movie, Meet Cute, is also on Amazon Prime. I think I found it on a list of good time travel movies. It stars Pete Davidson and Kaley Cuoco. I didn’t know much about her, except for that she was on The Big Bang Theory, which I watched a handful of times.

As for him, I enjoyed his SNL skits and hosting, but never understood all the woman flocking to him. What’s the deal!? I heard it’s just that he’s a really nice guy. He has a kind of sweet charm and magnetism that his role in this movie displayed.

Again, my expectations for this movie were very low, but I enjoyed it. There was actual time travel! It was the time loop variety like in Groundhog Day. I always find it interesting to see how the loop will end. The movie was different than I expected and gave Before Sunrise vibes, with lovely views of New York City.

So much in life is about managing expectation. Maybe it’s best to expect very little. But I always feel like that’s a negative way to be. Is it better to be delighted when not expecting much? I don’t know. That surprise is nice, but when you’re expecting a lot and manage to get even more, that’s the dream. I guess putting up with some disappointment is part of the deal.

Maybe it’s best to find a balance between the two and be somewhat neutral. Last week I bought some dollar scratch tickets from soda can deposit money. ‘Tis the season for holiday miracles and you have to be in it to win it!

I won five dollars on one of them. I reinvested and got a five dollar scratch ticket today. I wasn’t sure which one to get, so I asked for one that won a lot. A guy behind me said, “If it wins a lot, it won’t be there!”

Sheesh. I didn’t say anything and figured I’d leave it up to chance. I won twenty dollars! Unexpected! Time to reinvest!

Dinner Tonight + Book Goals

dinner tonight

This was my dinner tonight! It was very good, but spicier than intended.

I sauteed Vidalia onions and orange peppers in olive oil, then seasoned with garlic powder, lemon pepper and balsamic vinegar.

When I cut up the onions and peppers, I kept the scraps and boiled them in water to make a vegetable broth. The basmati rice was cooked in the broth, along with a bit of of butter and a chicken bullion cube.

Imitation crab pieces were added to the onions and peppers right before removing from the heat. I buy the fake crab every few months, but don’t think that I’ll continue. I did a quick search and found an article stating that they are extremely processed.

Which I knew, but I didn’t realize exactly how much less healthy they are compared to real crab. Again, this should have been more obvious to me. The calories are about the same, but there is way less protein and nutrients than real crab, but more carbs. I think I’ll buy canned crab from now on instead. Although, I guess I should look at that label too!

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Now to books! Since this year is wrapping up, I have some more book goals. I need to start and finish a book, so I can return it to the library. It’s called, “The Comedy of Error: Why Evolution Made Us Laugh,” by Jonathan Silvertown.

I’d like to read five more books before the year ends. The number is rather random and pulled from the air, but it feels doable and a decent amount. I’m not yet sure what the other four books will be, but I have a few in mind.

One book that I’m really interested in reading is a novel called, “Before the Coffee Gets Cold,” by Toshikazu Kawaguchi. I heard a lot about this book from several YouTubers and was reminded of it again today. Apparently it’s part of a series of four books. There seem to be a mix of reviews, but I’m definitely feeling a pull to read it.

This book seems to have everything that I love. Coffee, cafes, time travel and short stories. The story is about a small cafe in Tokyo where people can time travel. But they have to return before the coffee gets cold.

This reminds me of a Korean drama on Netflix called Nine Time Travels. Nine magical incense sticks allow the main character to travel back exactly 20 years to the day. But he returns when the stick stops burning.

Stonehenge In Quincy. Have You Seen It?

Quincy's Mini Stonehenge

During these pandemic times, while driving to the highway, on the side of the road, I noticed a series of stones in front of a house. Over the last several months, the order of the stones has changed. They started piling up and forming a circle.

Huh. Something was going on here. I wanted to take a closer look. Yesterday, I had the time and the weather cooperated. So I pulled over and took some pictures.

Who did this?! There’s a mini Stonehenge here in Quincy! I love a good mystery and this has grabbed my attention.

While Quincy’s Stonehenge lacks the grandeur of the original in England, something and someone is behind it. Has the pandemic inspired someone to reflect on Quincy’s famed granite industry and pay hommage to it? Or maybe they’re just bored and wanted to try something new.

My time travel loving self imagines it’s a portal to an alternate reality. If I stood in the center of the circle, on the night of a full moon, danced around a bit with magical intentions and touched a stone, maybe I would go poof! Just like in Outlander — traveling to the past or maybe the future. Because my logical mind will overrule the urge to find out, I’ll never know.

I’m not sure if this is the final arrangement of the stones and I’m hoping the display continues to grow.

Next month brings the summer solstice, which is connected to Stonehenge. The person or persons behind this monument of stones could have something more planned. Maybe, just maybe, there will be dancing around these stones yet. But at sunrise on June 20th.

Time Travel With Merriam-Webster

If there’s one genre that gets me every single time, it’s time travel. I absolutely cannot resist the concept.

So I was thrilled to recently read that a physicist came up with calculations that eliminate the paradox problem. You know the issue when someone goes back in time and has to worry about changing something and destroying the present? Apparently things would all work themselves out somehow. Yay?!?!

Not only is the time travel genre fun, but it’s a great way to learn some history. I find myself wondering if certain parts of the story lines are true, so with some quick research, I’m able to find out.

Recently I enjoyed a couple of time travel series on Netflix. Since I also love foreign films, the variety of time travel shows available exponentially increases with more languages included. Back to 1989 is in Mandarin and placed in Taiwan. Live Up to Your Name is in Korean and takes place in present day South Korea and goes all the way back to the Joseon Dynasty.

So why am I bringing up time travel today? Because Merriam-Webster is playing along with the idea. They have a link you can go to and travel back. Pick the year you were born or any other year. You’ll find out when certain words were first used in print. The earliest year you can go back to is 1500, then by century and generally before the 12th century.

I went back to 1964 and it surprised me to find some of these words used so early. They seem more modern! Others are interesting in that the terms have changed and are used differently. It also makes me think about how the more things change, the more they stay the same. Below are a few.

AAA, black hole, carryout, colorism, condo, drink-driving, endangered, fentanyl, garage sale, gender identity, gigahertz, grandparenting, graphic novel, gun control, homophobia, hydrocodone, mack daddy, minicam, miracle fruit, mitochondrial DNA, naloxone, pants suit and pantsuit, point-and-shoot, precalculus, precooked, quinceañera, rat fink, red bush tea, retribalization, reverse discrimination, skinny-dip, slow-wave sleep, street hockey, table sugar, tostone, triple jump, xanthan gum, zip-code

If you have a few minutes, take a trip back and let me know what you think!

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Screenshot Image: Merriam-Webster