We talk a lot about technology constantly changing what we do and how we do it; if we deal with those changes and keep pace with the constantly redefined “modern world”, our lives become easier. Once we’ve figured out how to download new software or angle that front-facing camera so we don’t look like large-headed aliens, we can complain about ios7 or keep up with long-distance friends via Snapchat. It’s fun and exciting when these new advancements become a part of our daily lives, changing the world around us by making it a little bit smaller and easier to navigate. Then there are the changes to our own personal “worlds” of school/work, family, and friends; changes in these areas affect us more directly than changes brought on by modern technology, and sometimes they’re way more difficult to adjust to.
Changes for the worst can leave you feeling like you just knocked over a really beautiful vase (because this is an episode of Arthur and we’re all just living in it), which shattered into a million pieces. You’re at least a little bit shocked by the sudden shift in what you know to be true: the vase was intact a minute ago, but now it is not; you didn’t have a problem before the vase broke, but now you do. You’re not sure how you could’ve been so careless and clumsy, and if you could go back and keep from destroying the vase, you would. Eventually, you’ll have to stop longing for the way things were and accept the new state of your world.
A change launches you into new territory, and in that sense, actually gives you something cool and unknown to explore. Some changes bring on a lot of difficult emotions, but all changes usher in new possibilities. If I think about where I am in my life right now, I can see the silver linings of what once felt like huge upheavals over the course of my life; some of those changes gave me the chance to make new friends, develop new interests, and take on interesting opportunities.
Speaking of change, when I first listened to Paramore’s latest album (self-titled), I was shocked by the very sound of it. There were drums and guitars and Hayley Williams’ familiar vocals… and ukulele songs and a gospel choir… and I loved it. On paper it sounds crazy, but the eclectic styles throughout the album give each song a life of its own. Paramore’s music still has the same heart and energy I’ve always loved, they’re just apparent now in different ways than before.
A few years prior to the release of their latest album, Paramore became a trio. The band’s two departing members didn’t take their baggage with them when they left the group, either: they wrote about it online. For a long time, I was expecting the remaining members to take that experience and make a fourth album that sounded like their third, Brand New Eyes, which was articulate, honest, and angry.
Paramore’s lyrics are still as articulate and honest today as they were in 2009, but decidedly devoid of anger. On the whole, the band’s fourth album isn’t about grappling with old messes. Instead, the songs celebrate getting through a major shake-up and becoming stronger because of it. In countless interviews promoting the album, the remaining members of Paramore talk about making a record as a trio and how this new dynamic influenced their music. Influenced is a key word here: the loss from their past didn’t define or decide their current style, it just played a role in allowing that style to form.
Moving past the sting of a change and trying to enjoy a new situation can help way more than it hurts, whether it helps people to blaze cool new trails creatively or makes them a better person. By “better person”, I mean a happier person, a more focused person, a more confident person… whatever. Snapping out of the hold of a major, upsetting change allows you to use your time for more positive things.
If you had asked me a few years ago what I thought my life would be like now, I would’ve painted you a vivid but largely incorrect picture of my eighteenth year. Not everything has ended up like I thought it would, but that doesn’t mean I want to turn back the clock. I don’t see the point in getting upset over a change when I could be enjoying everything that’s happening right now. If it weren’t for change, I wouldn’t know as much about costuming school plays or dancing like a spaz at concerts, and I probably wouldn’t be writing this article. In a way, change is just a cool software update for your life.