Change is the butterfly that flaps its wings in Brazil and causes a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s the smallest act, that will create chaos along it’s path. We tend to be the people in the path of the hurricane. We don’t know where the butterfly was, what color its wings were, or when it precisely brought its wings together. We just know the hurricane that hits because of the creature. This is because humans don’t live in an isolated world where only one variable changes at a time. Humans overload their plates when they feel like they ‘need to change’. Every year, on New Years, people make a laundry list of resolutions that they fully intend to follow through with. However, trying to change so many things at once only results in us resolving never to make resolutions again.
My resolution was to stop attending cons. I forgot that humans don’t make drastic changes very well.
However, we do make changes subtly, as people. We discover that we feel better if we do eat something, or don’t eat something, or drink less, or stop smoking. Our entire youth seems to be centered on deliberately damaging ourselves. Testing our endurance to our limits, to see what our limits are. With maturity comes the rolling back on what we can keep doing, and recognizing what we must abandon for our health.
So, with this in mind, I started going to cons when I was 17 years old. That is a lot of learned behavior that I can’t indulge in anymore.
Con was definitely the place to test my endurance. Not eating enough, not sleeping enough, dancing all night long, smoking cloves, and joining my friends for drinks. I had heard about these strange things called panels, but that was where the day-walkers tread. I was contented to stand in the halls and talk with my friends. Or to wander into rooms and socialize. Try to find food and meander the dealer’s room, absorbing the things that I couldn’t buy myself.
Obviously, the behaviors of an older teen/young twenty-something aren’t behaviors I can really keep anymore. My life has changed. I’m a wife and a mother, not a free-wheeling kid. I wish I had the same kind of endurance that I did when I was twenty-one, but I don’t. Then again, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. I can’t do what I’ve always done, and that’s all there is to it. So my obvious solution was to not attend con this year. Cut myself off, cold turkey.
It’s been brought to my attention that I’m pursuing a career that I wasn’t pursuing in my late teens and early twenties. A career that happens to dovetail nicely into going to cons, attending panels, doing what day-walkers do. If it means being at the con when night falls and the party animals emerge – well, I’m still able to say hello to them in the halls, just like normal.
I don’t want to say I’m getting old, because I don’t feel old. I just had a problem presented to me over the weekend. My husband wanted to go be social with his friends, and I didn’t want to go. Being without him for four days, on the other hand, was awful. Not because the days were awful; I had fun. I spent time with family and friends and my adorable son, and we had a great time. I just don’t like being without my husband for that long. We were at an impasse. My options, seemed to be to go back to con, or to plan on spending Easter without him for the rest of our lives.
This is how change comes in. Necessity. The collapse of viable options to one single point, the leaf the butterfly lands on to flap its wings. I have to essentially deconstruct all of my old expectations and understandings of con, and reconstruct them to include my career aspirations. It will be odd to walk the halls, looking to make new friends, with so many old friends wandering the halls. I think this year was the year of the hard look; of the conscious decision, and of the remodeling of thought. But the answer was always obvious, now that I think about it. Compromise. Go for part of the con, not the whole of it. Cut back, relax, and enjoy what is there before me.
Guess you can’t stay a caterpillar forever.