By Rebecca Rooy

Sometimes it seems like I’m surrounded and staring, wide-eyed, at cloned characters from the musical Fiddler on the Roof, bellowing “Tradition!” from the rooftops to unhearing ears.

This insistent and unyielding mentality toward nonsensical traditions has always challenged, thwarted, and haunted the human race: way before the first Running of the Bulls and the many gory deaths to follow; way before the first New Year’s Resolution had been made and, subsequently, broken; way before the first newly 21-year-old decided to take 21 shots to celebrate the big birthday; way before the first HIV-positive person forced his own mythical purification by assaulting a virgin to rid himself of the virus; way before the first mistletoe was mounted and the kissing system enforced.

What is the point of these traditions? Why are they still supported and, ultimately, in existence?

Most scenarios of tradition and resistance to change aren’t quite as dire or extreme as the above listed circumstances, but the mental block is similar. How many of us grasp so tightly onto the past, chalking it up to establishing tradition, or some other excuse? How many of us truly want to embrace change, despite how positive it may be in the long run? Is it too much of a gamble? Would we rather feel safe than risk our familiar comfort to the unknown? I recently heard a stated statistic that within the United States, about 25% of the population is prepared and eager to embrace change, while approximately 75% is utterly resistant.

Change can be good. Change can be difficult. Change can be rewarding. Change can be scary. Change can encompass actions of learning, growing, innovating, and practicing flexibility. If we are reluctant to embrace change, what will keep us on our respective toes? What sort of betterment is available? Can we even fully imagine and explore betterment if our minds are closed to change from the start? To remain stagnant, unwilling, and unchanged in a changing world defines the epitome of what we, as a developing and progressive human race, should fear. We need to fiddle our way down from our rooftops and begin embracing change. This is, by the way, much easier said than done.