By Joanna, age 20, South Wales, United Kingdom
Change. Change is a strange concept. Some people find they like it, whereas others seem to despise it. Alice was of the latter category. Why do people crave change when things are good as they are?
Alice was a remarkable girl. She had faced the most change in her life of anyone that she knew. Life had changed when she was two years old and adopted by her mother's sister. Life had changed again when her aunt had moved to England, then to Canada, then to India, then to Germany, and life was changing again now that France had taken her aunt's fancy. At fifteen, Alice was a well-travelled girl with a stern dislike for change and upheaval.
January was her least favourite time of year. It brought more change when she wished for less. As it was January now, Alice was bad tempered and unhappy. Having never lived in any one place for more than a few years, she had never had any close friends, and this made her a very lonely and sullen child. It was with great joy that she received the news that her aunt wished to stay living in France indefinitely.
Before long, Alice began to forge friendships with the local children. She met a likeable and bubbly girl named Penny, who soon became her best friend. The two did everything together; they were inseparable. Or so Alice thought.
It was January of the following year when an unforeseen change occurred in Alice's life. Penny had made a New Year's resolution - to join an after school club that did not involve Alice. She was devastated. Alice had always been able to predict change, as she could always tell when her aunt was becoming restless with one city or another, but this unexpected betrayal had been something that she had thought impossible. Alice may have been overreacting, but in her eyes, the only friend she had ever known in sixteen years of life had betrayed her, and she could not see it any other way.
Alice, not one to be content with letting life pass her by, thought on the situation and came up with an idea. Perhaps she would join a different after school club from Penny. After all, she had lived here for a year now and had not really met any friends apart from Penny. After talking to her aunt about it, she was convinced that joining a club would be a good thing for her.
A week later, she found herself nervously approaching the doors to the gym. She had chosen a gymnastics club, as she had always had a love for sports and excelled in gymnastics. She imagined walking in to find everyone had already settled into stuck-up cliques, leaving her alone for activities that required a partner. She couldn't allow herself to dwell on those negative thoughts. Brazenly, she pushed open the door.
What she found was the complete opposite of her imagined scenario. About ten worried looking girls milled around the gym, waiting for the class to begin. Alice approached one girl and introduced herself. They soon discovered each was as nervous as the other, as Alice managed to get everyone talking in the group. She learned that some of the girls were beginners at gymnastics, worried that they wouldn't have the skill to pull off some of the tasks. A few girls thanked her for talking to them, worried that they wouldn't meet anyone and would be left alone. Alice instantly felt pleased that she had managed to put other people at ease, and was glad she had overcome her fears and been brave enough to come tonight.
As the months went by, Penny became engrossed in her orchestra club, with practices becoming more and more frequent as the club arranged to play at local theatres and cathedrals. The two girls were still close friends, yet they didn't do everything together anymore. The occasional shopping trip or sleepover still occurred, and Alice, to her surprise, found that she rather enjoyed it this way. She thoroughly enjoyed her gymnastics practice and had met a lot of new friends through it, who, in some ways, she had more in common with than Penny.
One evening, her aunt asked her how she felt about the situation with Penny. It had been hard for her to see Alice so upset as she loved her dearly and wanted very much for her to have some stable friendships in France. Much to her aunt's relief, Alice replied that she felt very good indeed about the way that life had panned out.
Alice thought to herself about life since January. She had always maintained that she hated change. She had always associated change with factors in life that you could control, like where you lived, but life had taught her so much in the last few months. She had learned, not a moment too soon, that change in life is inevitable. It has nothing to do with January and New Year's resolutions, and so it shouldn't. Alice told this to her aunt, who wisely replied that change had nothing to do with a month or a year, but the individual, and that anytime a change was required so it should be, often for the better. Alice agreed.