“And now, for something completely different.”
This famous Monty Python phrase slid softly into my vocabulary in the early 1980s when I won a small black-and-white television from Sears. I won it because I was a bored 12-year old.
My mother had been waiting in a long line to return something and I’d discovered a small box with contest entry forms next to it. With nothing else to do, I stood there and filled out form after form and stuffed them in the box.
I likely had 40 or 50 entries submitted before my mother finished her task. A week or two later, Sears called to inform me I’d won a TV.
Televisions were not common in children’s bedrooms in the ’80s and my parents were very clear about not staying up late watching it on school nights. “Monty Python’s Flying Circus,” however, was on at 10 p.m. on Sundays.
I spent many Sunday nights with a heavy blanket over my head and the TV, the volume set at its absolute lowest whisper, while I desperately held back giggles.
“And now, for something completely different” was whispered into my psyche at the same time my pituitary gland was whispering the same message.
It’s a simple message: Change is coming. Something different is just around the corner, over the horizon, a few heartbeats or hormones away.
For many aspects of our lives, there’s not much we can do about a changing world – things are in motion that individuals have little ability to impact. What we do have, however, is control over how we view change.
When I look back over my life, I realize how often I resisted change. I clung to fashions long past their prime. I hung onto a comfortable pillow until it was nearly flat and useless.
I’m just now beginning to appreciate music from the ’90s and am barely aware of music from this millennium. I’ll slip into reading the same authors, watching the same shows and eating the same food because the familiar is comfortable.
But growth lives on the margins. The best moments of my life – exciting adventures, new relationships, great leaps of knowledge and awareness – all occurred when I embraced change. They bloomed when I said in my heart and mind, “And now, for something completely different.”
The greatest moments of my life – becoming a husband and father, living in a new state with a new career – all happened when I jumped into the wind and embraced where it took me.
I’m learning to trust this more and more. My career has been most rewarding when I saw a new way of doing something and did it rather than say, “This is the way it’s always been done.” I can trust growth is happening and that new, exciting challenges are on the horizon. The opportunity to serve our community tugs me to look forward, not backwards.
My marriage is thriving because my wife and I constantly seek growth for ourselves and each other. Our family thrives when we jump into new adventures through the YMCA, Scouts or church. The wonderful moments come when we embrace, as author Bob Goff writes, “living on the edge of yikes.”
My eldest son starts high school next month. His head will be stuffed with algebra, language, science, music and history. All important, for sure.
But the most important thing I want him to learn is that he can take all that knowledge, couple it with the assuredness he is completely loved, harness it to the belief that whatever endeavor comes his way will most likely work out well, and have faith that growth, adventure and opportunity live and thrive at the edge of yikes.
Life blooms when it becomes something completely different.
Andrew Homan of University Place is a network administrator at the YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties. He’s one of six reader columnists who write for this page. Reach him at NoelNHoman@gmail.com and read some of his other work at www.andrewhoman.com