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Change is Not Always Bad

April 10, 2023 | Letters

Author: Nicole Olynk Widmar, Associate Head and Professor, Purdue University, Department of Agricultural Economics

As the wise Sheldon Cooper once said (in Season 2, Episode 19), “Change is never fine. They say it is, but it’s not.” He goes on to share a variety of thoughts about change over the years, generally circling around a distaste for it or an overall feeling of overwhelm. After all, this was a man who once said, “I’ve spent my whole life trying to bring order to the universe by carefully planning every moment of every day.”

Indeed, some of us (speaking for myself here) like order, lists, calendars, planning, and then a little extra planning (just to be sure). Spontaneity has never been my strong suit, unless you mean explicitly scheduling time for unstructured/free time, in which case, I absolutely do excel. Calendars, lists, rules (especially rules); I’m good at those. Now, when it comes to change, preferably well-planned change, I’m trying really hard. Recall from Smell Your Cheese to See if it is Old a few weeks ago in which we talked about the book Who Moved My Cheese, I summarized:

“Instead of fixating on having found cheese and parking oneself next to said pile, Sniff and Scurry (the mice) move on easily and run after new cheese. Hem and Haw (human problems, again) feel sad and sorrowful about their moldy, tiny cheese pile. The longer you stand next to your sadness inducing moldy cheese crumbles, the less time you have to find the new cheese. At some point the fear of leaving the old cheese becomes crippling. Eventually Haw goes out to find new cheese without his human friend Hem. But it took a lot to get him to go, and they aren’t together anymore. There’s new cheese out there, but you aren’t going to find it standing next to your old moldy cheese crumbles. Smell your cheese so you know when it is getting old. Then … Go. Find. New. Cheese. Preferably without too much Hemming and Hawing.”

It makes good sense that when your cheese crumbles are covered in mold, you should move on to find some new cheese. (Even though it sounds obvious, it is indeed easier said than actually done.) We’re using rodents to illustrate a point here; I mean, you know you need to do something different, find something different, or just do something. And yet, we struggle. Change is hard. And, much like our old friend Alice (in Wonderland, that is), “I give myself very good advice…”, and yet I’m still struggling to follow it.

Interestingly, one of Sheldon’s commonly quoted idols, Albert Einstein, once said something that would have likely greatly distressed Sheldon … “The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.”

Interestingly, nobody cares if you are good at it. Change is inevitable; in fact, the one constant, as they say, is change. (Not that we stop to ask who ‘they’ is, but that’s a question from a different day.)

I suppose I can agree that change is not always bad.

We experienced a bittersweet change here in the Consumer Corner family recently. I wish Torrie Sheridan well in her new role across our campus! I’m excited for Torrie and her new opportunities. But I’ll miss her. Torrie was here when Consumer Corner was just an idea and was instrumental in conceptualizing and then implementing everything that we do here on Consumer Corner. In a personal favorite … deep in the Covid-19 era when we were all navigating some interesting times, Torrie interviewed my (then) kindergartener. In case you missed it … HERE. Best wishes to Torrie; we will miss you here. ~Nicole