THE FEAR OF CHANGE

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“Change may not seem an exciting prospect for many but it is the fresh linen on your bed, the ointment on your wound, it’s the new perspective on things as they really are and not how you believed them to be.”

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

So, how was it for you?  Did you have a nice Christmas? And are you looking forward to 2018?

Well, regardless of whether or not you’re ready, like the turning tide, a new year will begin tomorrow and, like the darkest night, it will be filled with the unknown. Something that fills many of us with hope and dread in an equal message.

Those of you who follow me on Facebook (what do you mean, you don’t?  – You can follow me here https://www.facebook.com/tonymarturano.author/) will already know that my reluctant transition into the unknown started last month when, after the robbery of my pride and joy camera, I was forced to acquire a new one.  And, of course, me being me,  I thought that learning a whole new camera wasn’t enough of a challenge, so I decided to use the opportunity to re-ignite my passion for manual photography (that is where all of the point-and-shoot automatically features on the camera are switched off and each of the three crucial settings are set manually).  Again, if you’ve been following on Facebook, then you’ll already have clapped eyes on the fruits of my labour, but in case you haven’t, here are a few of the few snaps I took while on the SouthWest coast of England working on INCUBUS (out next year – technically this year, but for a day or so).

I, for my sins, also dove straight into a demo shoot, whilst there, with the handsome dude below. His name is Craig.  The shoot turned out to be a bit of boost for me since it started with a generic brief of exterior and interior shots, but then, as you can see, I managed to get him to strip, in the shower and into bed.  Figuratively speaking, of course.  😉

There are more photos of Craig, others, as well as some seascapes and landscapes on my PHOTOGRAPHY  page.  I’ve also auditioned for and am already contributing to some major stock photography websites, such as Shutterstock and Adobe, which means 2018 is going to be packed with a series of shoots as I recapture my photography skills while sharing these with the world.

Change.

Am I apprehensive?  Of course, I am. Like many, I too foster regular self-doubt like some hideous creature in the deepest dankest cellar. Yet, as much as I would like it, I’m unable to exorcise the beast because it’s part of me.  My curse, and my gift as it drives me to do better and perhaps even prove (to myself) that I am good enough.

Nobody likes change. Yet,  reigniting this new facet of my life has already pushed me to carve out time to visit new places, push now boundaries both to shoot photos but also to exhibit my work to a whole new audience.  Yes, I’ve even relented and joined Instagram!  Something I told myself I would never do.  But if you really want to learn and get better, you have to put yourself out there, be appreciated by and maybe even critiqued by your peers for this is often how we learn the most.

For it is at the edge of one’s comfort zone that life truly begins.

Change.

For me, 2018 will also be ushering in another fundamental change in my life. One that, right now,  I have no idea how it’ll turn out because, as already stated, New Years are always dark and full of (potential) terrors. But also opportunity.

Be the change that you want to seeOf course,  I could sit here and agonise over what might be, but I’ve never subscribed to that kind of philosophy. I am and always have been much more pragmatic than that. Binary some would say. Others say that I see things in black and white and then add that life isn’t like that. And they would be right. It isn’t. But this is is how I choose to approach the unknown. I choose not fret, worry, agonise about things of which I know nothing and over which I have no control.  Instead, I choose to deal with each and every challenge/opportunity as it is presented to me, tangibly,  because, hey, that’s how I roll!   

Change can be as terrifying as that proverbial monster under the bed or that creature in the closet. And yet, turn on a light, arm yourself with the facts and, more than often, that thing isn’t anywhere near as scary as you first imagined. 

Change is coming and, love it or loathe it, it will happen to all of us.  Whether it’s moving home, changing jobs,  a relationship. Even the climate (despite what Donald Trump may think) is changing. Population, social tolerance, technology are just some of the things that are reshaping our world and the way we live our lives. Some say that we’ve never been this connected. Others would argue that we’ve never been this far apart. I know, from personal experience, that the easier it is to be self-sufficient the less we actually want to interact with the world around us.

Change is inevitable.  Resistance is futile.

Interestingly, even the certainty of that old adage,  the only things that are certain are death and taxes is being challenged by the relentless shift of time; tax bands change science seeks to prolong the lifespan of the average human being.

So, what about you? How do you cope with change? Are you a “Bring it on!” kind of person, or do you do everything in your power to keep the status quo? Are you are a creature of habit? Do you like a routine? If so, what happens if somebody or something changes it? What are you like when you travel and don’t have all the comforts of home surrounding you during your morning ritual? Are you unaffected? Unsettled? Or do you freak out?

Take a second to consider that.

Generally, humans, like cats, are creatures of habit with many settling for and being satisfied with a Groundhog Day kind of existence. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But what if you could exist by experiencing the world as you know it in a completely different way? What if you didn’t have to work and had plenty of time on your hands? Would you settle for just existing then or would you want to do more with your life? Would you want to interact with the people in your orbit in a different way? Spend more or less time with them? Experience different things together?

Some changes are deliberate, others are foisted upon us. And yet, change may tamper with our insecurities, chase us out of our comfort zone, but it isn’t always for the worse.

One of the things I like to do before I write a blog post is to sometimes check my theories and subject matter to see if somebody else has written about the same thing and what their perspective might be. This time,  I came across a website called tinybudha.com.   There, the author writes about the positive aspects of change and since I wholeheartedly agree, since they match my own, I’ve included some of the positive elements of change below:

  • Personal Growth – We learn something new every time something changes.
  • Flexibility – Frequent changes make us much more adaptable to new environments and new people. As a result, we’re less likely to feel intimidated by change.
  • Improvements – Some of us would like to see it and some don’t particularly care either way, but most enjoy seeing improvements in their lives; job, finances, etc. In order to see improvements, we need to embrace change.
  • Life Values – Change helps us stop and evaluate those things that matter to us and see them from a different perspective from the everyday routine.
  • Snowball Effect- Big changes well and truly push us out of our comfort zone. That’s why small regular changes make the whole experience much more manageable.
  • Strength – One of the biggest themes in my book COMING UP FOR AIR is that we don’t all lead a fairytale existence and that sad, painful things do happen. These things, however, are what make us stronger and better equipped for the future.
  • Progress – Change triggers progress. And I know that some pessimists will say here that progress isn’t always made with change and that sometimes we take a retrograde step.  True, but even this is good as we learn what works and what doesn’t!
  • Opportunities – Again, a big theme in COMING UP FOR AIR is that in order to be exposed to new opportunities, we need to put ourselves out and expose ourselves to something new, we need to stretch!
  • New Chapter – Change is about closing one chapter and, hopefully, opening another much more exciting and rewarding one.

So, there you have it. Change isn’t always all bad as much as it may seem that way.

Still not convinced?

I know, it isn’t easy. The unknown, like the proverbial dark, can be scary.

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COMING UP FOR AIR was a project 10 years in the making and is my only non-fiction work. When researching the book, I interviewed literally hundreds of people in the USA and UK about their relationships. And, somewhat controversially features my own relationship story.

 

We’re human beings. As such, we like and need our routines to maintain a sense of order and control in our lives. Hence why many of us don’t take kindly to having that order disrupted. And yet, resist as you may, change will happen. Sometimes, when you least expect it. The only question is, will you be ready?

I’m often asked (and I know I’ve mentioned this before) how I’m able to see things about people that nobody else can see. My stock answer to that is the difference between everybody else and me is that ‘I want to see.’   I have no special skills other than I want to understand the people I interact with the best I can.  And that doesn’t mean I do a whole psychological assessment each time I meet someone. It just means that they’ll generally get my undivided attention. Which means that if they tell me that everything is okay but it really isn’t, I’ll notice it.

We see the things we want to see and ignore those uncomfortable truths for that very reason; they’re uncomfortable.

Both when researching COMING UP FOR AIR and in life, I’ve lost count of the people that have shared their relationship stories with me and told me that ‘everything changed suddenly. One day everything was fine and the next…” The reality is, we often know more than we think. We just choose, often subconsciously, to ignore it because the alternative is just unfathomable.

Change may not seem an exciting prospect for many but it is the fresh linen on your bed, the ointment on your wound, it’s the new perspective on things as they really are and not how they’ve just come to be.

So, which changes are you planning from tomorrow?  Or would you rather I refer to them as resolutions? We all make them and we all break them. At least, until next time.  I do. Every year without fail. Generally, it’s one and always the same. Maybe I should change (see what I did there?) it up this year and not bother committing to losing weight, scowling at the sight of anything sweet and or chocolate smothered and or seemingly delicious and or comforting.  That’s because, I now know that in order to bring about a real difference, I must first change the unhealthy association I keep making with food and how I’m feeling.

Something that is easier said than done.  After all, nobody likes change, right?

In the meantime, it’s back to work on INCUBUS for me and reducing that word deficit that at the moment sees me well and truly missing my deadline. Oh look, maybe some things don’t change after all.

Whatever your plans for tonight and for the rest of 2018, I hope they’re full of prosperity and joy.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” ― Neale Donald Walsch

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