Stability, simplicity, normalcy; none of these are easy to let go of. They’re both the bubble that keeps many from breaking and the glass prison that separates a person from who they are and who they can be. People are incorrect to say a safe situation is either good or bad. It will always be both, because the situations in themselves are typically neutral. It’s how the people live these situations that sway the positives and negatives. It’s how people, societies, and notions change.
The reality is, not many people want to change. Or rather, not many people want what may come with change. People will tell anyone with a minute to listen about how they want something different. Journals, canvases, and movies feature characters who want nothing more than to escape whatever miserable circumstance they’re stuck in. But no painting illustrates somebody who wants to be homeless in order to leave the comfortable existence they already have. No story boasts the main character who wants to lose all of their financial stability for a small shot at going back to school for a job that requires hours of unpaid service. No movie depicts someone excited to possibly lose their children in a custody battle so they can gain freedom for themselves alone. Films like Beauty and the Beast and Mean Girls include characters that want huge changes in their life. But when Belle loses her freedom and Cady loses her friends to achieve that change, they wish these events never happened. Of course, a perfect movie ending is conjured in which both characters gain back what they lost, but the difficulties aren’t sought after.
Everybody wants their movie ending, to reach the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. No one wants to sink in the rain first (because there is a chance of drowning). It isn’t a bad thing to be afraid of failing. It’s a realistic fear, an understandable caution. The only problem is, it’s going to rain no matter what. Will a broken umbrella be enough?
Even if someone is willing to take step one, which is change the life around you, people freeze up at step two: personal change. The entire world can shatter and reshape, but each person will be the same. The weather can get nicer, the roads can be paved, the car can be new, but unless someone puts their foot on the pedal and steers down each road, the car will not move. But to change isn’t to go on a journey to a set destination. The world isn’t one giant grey area of choices for each person to find where they want to rest on the scale. It’s a canvas waiting for each person to mix whatever levels of black and white they choose in order to create where they stand.
Take moving, for example; it’s easy to assume that all that needs to occur is sell house A and buy house B. But life has a way of making things complicated for people. The choices are either sell the house and search for something better or the safe option where they remain where they are, potentially missing opportunities in doing so. If such a family decided to go ahead with moving, what if the house sold before they found another one? The situation could be simple, like if the people move in with family and find a new living situation within a couple weeks. Or, something crazy could happen, like a single mom, two kids, and a dog could live in a hotel for almost a month. Then from there, they could travel over two hours to stay with family for another half a month. Such a scary and uncertain scenario becomes the haunting thoughts that tell people it’s better to stay the same. But after the month of transition, what if that family found the perfect house? What if their community and school was everything they wanted? Despite the hardships that instill an upset stomach in hindsight, the goal reached is worth it. Everyone starts with a blank piece of paper. Sometimes the paint runs in directions that weren’t expected, but the result is still a masterpiece, even if it wasn’t what anyone originally had in mind.
So, no, barely anybody wants to destroy their old life in order to get another one. Why would anyone want to break off parts of themselves to create new ones? Most people aren’t happy at the thought of every aspect of their life being unknown, unplanned, a blank map they must have the courage to fill in. The journey from a caterpillar to a butterfly, ashes to a phoenix, a child to an adult, requires the body and soul to destroy itself and rebuild. It’s death and resurrection. But everyone is more comfortable to let the rain fall around them with the same rhythm it’s always had; not too hard, not too gentle. But if someone has all of the colors of the rainbow in their pocket and the dream of something better within their grasp, is their broken umbrella — made of stability, simplicity, and normalcy — enough?