Human beings are such complex and contradictory creatures. We can profess to want one thing and yet yearn for another.
We claim to be excited by the new but cling to the familiar. We seek the unexpected but baulk at its unpredictability.
And I’m not just talking about the latest smartphone or the changing face of our suburbs. The same seems to hold true in our relationships with each other.
What happens when the joking, life-of-the-party decides he has had enough of being entertaining and becomes introspective and serious?
What happens when the joiner of committees, participant in working bees and attendee of groups and classes decides to withdraw from all commitments and focus on herself?
What happens when the one who has always been available to provide a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on decides to distance himself to focus on his own life troubles?
The world doesn’t cope.
The friends of the Joker, used to sitting back and being entertained, find it too hard to have a serious conversation and stop inviting him to social events.
The members of committees and working bees, the leaders of groups and teachers of classes, instead of inspiring new people to participate, bemoan the fact that things no longer get done and people no longer come now the Joiner is not involved.
The friends of the Carer resent his unavailability to them and withdraw their friendship just when he needs it most.
What does the one who has changed do now?
A. He reverts back to his previous persona, all the while resenting the role he must play to comply with expectations.
B. She persists in her new persona and suffers the barbs and the loneliness this attracts.
Both difficult choices.
When others come looking for the person he or she used to be, there’s always the good old Jedi mind trick.
“I am not the person you are looking for.”