Change (n., vb.)

Sometimes it’s a noun and sometimes it’s a verb, the word ‘change’ is itself changeable. Wonderfully you can read about how the meaning of ‘change’ has changed over time (see etymonline) from its origins in Proto-Indo European that suggest a root meaning ‘to bend’. In Welsh, the noun meaning ‘change’ is newid and the adjective for ‘new’ is newydd. For those who don’t speak Welsh, the only audible difference is the last consonant sound. And this makes sense, because newydd also contains the meaning of ‘changed’ within it (see GPC); something that is new, is also something which has, or has been, changed. I think this is a great way to think about newness: things aren’t new, ex nihilo or out of nothing; rather, they are changed, built on something that has gone before.

To my mind, there are two types of change: welcome and unwelcome. Change, after all is constant, so it’s how we see change that is worth discussing. Some change is necessary, and this often makes it welcome change. Too long in the same job, the same chair, doing the same tasks, might make us crave change. One of my grandma’s oft-repeated refrains is that “a change is as good as a rest”. One way of thinking about craving change, is that we are really craving novelty; which brings us back to the link between newydd and newid. Some change however, is unwelcome and unexpected change is often unwelcome. As well as craving novelty, we also paradoxically and yet unironically, crave stability, routine and habit; often, we don’t want things to change. Many of us, perhaps, put off necessary changes simply to avoid the very action of changing.

Change is inevitable, how we respond to change is personal.

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