Too Much Change

Robin Botie of ithaca, New York, is resisting change after years of too many changes and finally finding her own crazy path through life.How willing are you to change your habits and/or lifestyle? This was the question haunting me the last three months. It took that long to get an appointment with the particular medical person who many friends and acquaintances were raving about, about how she had improved their health and changed their lives.

The question was towards the end of the thirteen-page patient survey the office mailed to me, in the section querying about leisure behavior patterns, diet, alcohol and other substance consumption. On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d scored my willingness to change as fairly high. Then, as soon as I sealed the envelope to mail it back, I knew I hadn’t answered truthfully. And now, on the eve of my scheduled appointment, in the middle of a brilliant summer of partying, wine tastings, campfires, garden celebrations, picnics, barbecues and dinners on the deck, I am pretty sure I would not want to change even a tiny blessed thing about my life (other than getting back my daughter who died).

When Marika died 8 ½ years ago, I didn’t want to be alive at all. For many miserable months, I had to work hard to find or create reasons to drag myself out of bed each day. Friends, food and wine were the only lights in my life. Filling my time with these as much as possible, over the years I found ways to keep myself together, keep looking forward. So much changed. Too much change. Now, finally I feel like I re-found myself, redefined my self and my new path in life. The road I follow may seem strange to some. But I am making my own peculiar way and life is beautiful once again. As for my habits and health—I am keeping my appointment, but I don’t know how much more I can bear in the way of changing.


How willing are you to make changes?




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6 thoughts on “Too Much Change

  1. Elaine Mansfield

    Living insists on change–if you ask me. Resisting change = saying no to life. My body has demanded so much in relation to hearing loss and adjusting to a need for solitude and now hearing bionically with a cochlear implant. I refused to give up because of it. Friendship keeps changing as new friends arrive and old ones leave by moving or dying or going through big life changes. The seasons come and go, my hair can’t get any whiter, the summer flowers and butterflies leave, but still I find something worthwhile and thrilling about this experience of living filled with continued surprise and beauty. Your images and blog tell me you do, too.

    1. Robin Botie Post author

      Exactly, Elaine. I find it hard to believe that I’m still very fascinated with living and all the beauty around me. It’s almost embarrassing to admit to people that (I’m happy), especially to others who are suffering or finding life is intolerable, maybe even wanting to end it. A lot of the time I’m telling myself that I’m enjoying something “for my daughter who cannot.” But often, I’m totally engaged, absolutely in love with life and the world. Even though there’s a little cloud of guilt hanging over me when I’m feeling (happy).
      I’m going to think about that thing you said about friendship changing. I think it’s beginning to happen. I’m beginning to understand that. Darn.

  2. Lynne Taetzsch

    Robin, you have made the changes you needed to in order to survive, and now I believe you are even thriving. That’s all good.

    At this point in my life, if there is a real health or other reason to change, I will do it. But I am very skeptical and need to be convinced.

    1. Robin Botie Post author

      Yeah, Lynne. It appears I’m “even thriving” but it’s taken a lot of work to welcome and integrate all this change. I am also skeptical. I fight anyone who is suggesting I change, and I fight myself. Yeesh, I’m impossible. But that’s just part of how I survive. I walked into that appointment telling myself I didn’t have to listen to anything that would be suggested, that it was my choice whether to make changes or not. It makes it a whole lot easier if you feel you have choices or some control.

  3. Lucy Bergstrom

    I think I am willing to make changes but I always slide back to old habits. If anyone REALLY needs to make healthy changes, it’s me!
    But unlike you, I haven’t had tragic changes thrust upon me. You have had to accept the loss of Marika – the only alternative would mean dying yourself. I think you have made the changes you needed to be able to go on living, as so richly described in your blog. I would venture to say that by constantly talking to and about Marika, you have kept your love for her alive in a very healthy way, at the same time helping others to deal with gaping loss.
    I hope your appointment went really well, and the changes suggested will present you with a welcome challenge.
    By the way, what a great photo taken on the suspension bridge!
    See you in Sept.! I’ll be in town Sept.7-19.
    Love, Lucy

    1. Robin Botie Post author

      I love you, Lucy. I get that it’s too easy to grove in the familiar and comfortable. Old habits – so hard to let go of. Sometimes it takes something monumental like a diagnosis or death to shake one out of familiar patterns. Sometimes we don’t get a choice for how to go on, we just have to keep moving in whatever we we can.
      Thankfully, my physician’s assistant just gently suggested what she would do in my situation. She did not push me into anything I couldn’t handle. I think everything works better if people allow others to grieve, or to change, in their own individual time-frames, and in their own ways. Thanks for putting a bug in my ear about welcoming challenge. It was a great reminder that change should be viewed as a challenge. An exciting opportunity for change.


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