Friday, February 13, 2015

Moving My Own Cheese: On the Finite Nature of Life and the Perpetuity of Change

The book Who Moved My Cheese?, by Spencer Johnson and Kenneth Blanchard, is a story within a story, teaching some readers about change and adaptation in work and everyday life. It portrays the concepts simply, using mice, cheese, and remarkably tiny people in a maze. As with any story, the book have an impact on some readers, but I found the juvenile presentation, redundant prose, and rampant clichés to be off putting. It served little more purpose than to remind me how chaotic my life has been.


I have been through multiple significant changes in my lifetime that required substantial adjustment on my part, forcing me to move my own cheese so to speak. I feel no compulsion to lay out the entire plot, so I'll skip right to my military career.
A year after graduating high school, I was working a dead-end job and decided the Air Force was worth trying. After three months of waiting, I boarded my first-ever flight and reported to basic training. The details here can seem gruesome, so I'll summarize. The sleep deprivation and constant emotional degradation became a way of life. I still don't sleep regular hours and my ability to ignore people is first rate.
My technical training boils down to bureaucracy and education, in that order, so I'll skip to the biggest change I've ever experienced. On 15 February 2003, I reported to my first duty station in England. Excepting Canada, I had never been to another country, and now I was living in one. I spent my first few hours wrapping my head around the idea that I was there to do a job unique to my career field while living in a place I had never even wanted to go. Being on my own was the greatest shock to my system, and I did not see my family again for nearly two years.
I spent the remainder of my career dealing with lesser dramatics until I separated in 2008. I then began the frightfully boring and protracted process of gaining access my veterans education benefits. Success here meant more schooling and this leaves me awaiting the next big change in my life. I spend little time preparing for this fact, as I'm fully aware of my ability to deal with complex logistics and tight constraints. I've spent my life worrying about getting to the bridge before I make plans on how I'll cross it.

It seems that my life to this point has been an extensive study on the impossibility of static existence. I have had the pleasure of making several laps around the sun now, and no two have been the same. Considering my experiences, Who Moved My Cheese? was no more than a short but ironically longwinded stating of logical facts. Life is change, and adaptation maximizes survivability. No matter what we do though, we're all going to die someday.

*This was a homework assignment from my final college class, and I felt compelled to reproduce it here.

No comments:

Post a Comment