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Change happens — although some people resist it

For decades I’ve been an early to bed, early to rise person. For the last 10 days or so I’ve barely managed to wake up until after 7:30 a.m.

That makes me very uncomfortable until I realized that the change to Daylight Saving Time caused different behavior. My body’s expectation to awake with the sunrise now is delayed by an hour. That explanation contributes to the prominent belief that older people resist change. That’s an idea that has been around for years.

John Steinbeck said, “It is the nature of a man as he grows older to protest against change, particularly change for the better.”

James Gordon, M.D. said, “It’s not that some people have willpower and some don’t. It’s that some people are ready to change and others are not.”

These quotes are from “Facing Age Finding Answers,” my book published in 2008. Since then recalling some personal experience has added to my collection of stories about unwillingness to change.

A dozen years ago I was having lunch with a long-time older friend when she complained about difficulties with making phone calls, and her frustration with the operator who answered her call with multiple directions: “Press 1 for status of orders. Press 2 for delivery schedule. Press 3 for account balance, etc.” She said “These telephone people are fools! There are no number buttons to push on my phone! There’s a dial.” Her tirade demonstrated her commitment to resisting change. If her phone still worked why get a new one. (Recently, a friend said his mother accepted the need for a new phone. She accepted the change, put the new phone on a closet shelf and never had it connected.)

I’m proud of my ability to accept change. Since 1984 I’ve had a computer that replaced the old Royal typewriter. I use the Internet to pay bills and balance my check book. And although I do not have a cell phone, I do have four phone extensions and each provides me with caller ID.

Some of the old rules of etiquette no longer matter. When a couple walked down the street the man was to stay on the curb side of the walkway to protect the lady from mud splashes of passing horses. Most of Emily Post’s rules of etiquette have vanished. However, in watching the Academy Awards on TV I realized I have a collection of attitudes that are examples of my resistance to change — resistance that is to my benefit. When I was a teenager I worried about wearing proper clothing for whatever event was pending. As a young lady my worst fear was being told “Your slip is showing!” That’s an old belief that I’ve retained. With what is in style today lots more than a slip shows.

Stories for Positive Aging is a semi-monthly column on senior issues written by Lake Oswego author of “Facing Age, Finding Answers,” Ardis Stevenson. She can be reached by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by regular mail at 17440 Holy Names Drive, Lake Oswego, OR 97034.