Subtle Shifts

Have you ever remarked that a kitten has gotten quite big, and its owner is surprised by that? You haven’t seen the kitten in weeks, so its growth is obvious to you. The owner, on the other hand, has seen it daily, and therefore the change in size has been subtle to him or her and therefor easy to overlook.

We experience subtle shifts every day without giving them much notice. For example, when I was a kid, I used to drink Hawaiian Punch practically by the 50-gallon drum. I couldn’t get enough of the stuff. Now, I can barely tolerate even a sip of it. It’s way too sickly sweet. I couldn’t tell you, though, the exact point in time when I shifted from being a Hawaiian Punch fan to a Hawaiian Punch disdainer. It just sort of sneaked up on me.

My perception of humor has apparently shifted as well. A week ago, if you had asked me what the funniest thing I’d ever seen on television was, I’d have responded, Season 4, Episode 4 of the sitcom Perfect Strangers. Based on its air date, I must have been 24 when I first saw it. I remember laughing so hard as Larry and Balki struggled to get a piano up ten flights of stairs that I nearly lost my breath, and I had tears streaming down my face. This was TV at its best, I thought.

So I was delighted when I discovered that Hulu was now showing every episode of Perfect Strangers. I would start with that iconic episode, and then binge watch the entire series. What fun!

I fixed myself a bowl of popcorn, got into some sweat pants and a t-shirt, snuggled in with my dog Quagmire, and prepared to be entertained.

Imagine my shock when I realized just how bad the show really was. Poorly written, cheesy, in fact. Poorly acted. Predictable. What a freaking disappointment. Needless to say, I won’t be binge watching any other episodes.

But I used to love that show. I really did. What the heck was I thinking? Who was I?

Now, if you ask me what the funniest thing I’ve ever seen on television is, I’ll respond the episode of Carol Burnett in which Tim Conway discusses the Siamese elephants, joined at the trunk. I’m happy to say that that one STILL cracks me up.


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My Favorite Things

When I was a child I used to drink Hawaiian Punch and Tang by the 50 gallon drum. Now I can’t stand the stuff. I also used to eat Cap’n Crunch straight out of the box as a snack. Ugh, the thought of that much sugar makes me feel slightly ill now.

No one is surprised when one’s tastes change from childhood, but until very recently it actually never occurred to me that my tastes could change as an adult as well. I had been clinging to my favorite things out of habit rather than preference. A change in perspective can change many things indeed.

For instance, my favorite fruit has always been the pomegranate. I used to wait for them to come in season with great anticipation. But then about a month ago I bought two and they are still sitting in the refrigerator. Pomegranates are messy and they take effort, and I find I just can’t be bothered. I actually think I prefer oranges these days.

I also have noticed I’m more drawn to the color red than to lilac, my lifelong default color. I don’t know which came first, the change in color or my change in personality, but there you have it. Red is now my favorite color.

Once it dawned on me that I could have new favorites, transformations have been cropping up left and right. I no longer like so much mustard on my hot dogs. I’m growing impatient with some types of music. I am much more in tune with my cravings.

It’s so easy to get into a rut or hibernate in a comfort zone. Take some time to question your choices. Listen to that inner voice. (Not the psychopathic one. The other one.) Shake things up. It’s actually quite liberating once you get the hang of it.