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Published:July 7th, 2011 10:44 EST
Why is Change so Terrifying?

Why is Change so Terrifying?

By Donna Cavanagh

I read this story about a British banker who decided that the world of money, luxury and material goods had lost its appeal, so he fled to South Africa to become a witch doctor.  His very British parents were not thrilled with his new choice of career, but since he had the word "doctor" in his new title, his mum and dad acquiesced and traveled to the South African bush to attend their son`s graduation from witch doctor school.

To be accurate, the banker became a sangoma, and the course curriculum to complete this new station in life was not that easy.  The ex-banker-turned-witch doctor had to learn the native language; he also had to sleep in the bush and wear traditional garments. Then, he had to perform the tribal dance in front of a lot of people, and I`m sure that was tricky choreography.  If that wasn`t difficult enough, the witch doctor-in-training participated in a weird treasure hunt where he searched for animal parts which were hidden by local villagers. The final proof of his desire to leave his banking life behind was the all-important vomiting of goat`s blood.  So, if one vomits goat`s blood that means he had to drink it first, right?  So, how come the drinking of the goat`s blood is not on the list of difficult goals to attain?  I would think swallowing the goat`s blood would be the most challenging part and the vomiting sort of a relief, but who am I to judge?

As bizarre as this story is, I have to admit something: I am in awe of people like this banker who can make drastic changes in their lives so easily.  It`s not that I don`t like change, I do.  However, I like change to happen gradually and preferably when I am unconscious, so I don`t know change has occurred.  I know this is a form of denial, but it works for me. 

I have met a lot of people who embrace change, and I`m not talking about taking a new route to work or ordering Vodka sauce on their pasta instead of Alfredo sauce. No, I am talking major change. They quit jobs and literally leave their homes and families behind to seek out adventure, wealth and their spiritual selves.

I think I have to get on the change bandwagon.  I tried it a bit this year; I went from my natural ash blonde hair color to medium blonde.  While some people might scoff at calling a half-shade darker hair color a change,  I considered it a big step.  I also changed dentists and made Google Chrome my browser of choice instead of Firefox. See, I can make changes in my life and I haven`t suffered any major physical or emotional damage because of it. 

I think my next change should be something where people might say, "Wow, look at how brave she is to take that challenge on!" So, I have come up with a list of goals that might fulfill my need for variety and daring (and sex is not involved so for all you men who jumped right to that, shame on you) . 

Become an Astronaut - I don`t know if there is an age limit requirement to start training for this, and I don`t know if it`s okay that I am not the best airplane flyer in the world, but I still think I can do the space thing if someone gives me a potent martini before takeoff.  Also, I can`t do the bathroom-in-the-suit thing.  I need a real lavatory. Do they have them in space?  

Climb Mt. Everest - I think I can do this as long as there is an elevator on the last leg of the trip.  After Base Camp two or three, I would think the climb gets more difficult and probably dangerous.  Since I have never mountain climbed before, I should probably practice on a few smaller mountains first. I live really close to the Poconos. I could climb one of those mountains and see how I do, and with any luck at all, there will  be a casino, a frozen margarita, and a great comedian act waiting for me at the top. Now that I think about it, I`ll skip Mt. Everest and just stick with the Poconos.
Become a Martial Arts expert - I always wanted to learn karate or one of the other martial arts.  I also like the uniform that goes with this line of work.  The pajama-like outfit not only looks comfy but the colorful wide sashes give the illusion of a smaller waist. Another perk: I think people would be afraid of me. The first mean or rude remark sent my way would put me into the attack pose or whatever the hell it is called and scare people into running away or apologizing to me.  I think I could get into that sense of power. 

There is a slight chance I might not be as brave with change as the British banker witch doctor, but I am sure I can accomplish some semi-life-changing goals. Oh, I know what I can do:  I`ll paint my bedroom and re-arrange the furniture.  Sure, I might not make front page news, but I won`t have to throw up goat`s blood either, and that is something to be thankful about.