January 14, 2008


Change. It's what everyone's talking about these days; everyone who's running for president, anyway.

Upon my recent return to my hometown, I of course noticed what had changed since I left for college. The nicely modernized schools, the new restaurants, the street improvements. Burbank has changed a lot since I was a kid; back then, "Beautiful Downtown Burbank" was a real joke; now it's a fact.

But it's still Burbank.

This contrasts with an experience I had last fall driving through Lincoln, CA. Lincoln is one of the cities near where I used to live. Trips to the grocery store or doctor regularly took me through Lincoln.

Lincoln is, by many accounts, the fastest growing city in California. To facilitate this growth, new streets are being built, and old ones are being realigned. On that particular day last fall, I was driving down a street I had driven down dozens of times, when I suddenly did not recognize where I was. I literally had to pull over to figure it out--and to shake away my fears of early onset Alzheimers. It wasn't Alzheimers--it was simply that development was happening so fast that the familiar town had become unrecognizable.

Everyone says they want change; and yes, I do believe that, as a nation, change is what we need. But I also know that we need to be careful what we ask for. Governor Schwarzenegger recently proposed some drastic changes to our state budget. The budget is a mess, and he's trying to fix it. And people are in an uproar. [Note: this may sound like an endorsement of the governor's plan. It's not. It's simply an essay on change.]

I've been worried about my family's ability to adapt to the changes we've faced. We've been living with my Dad for over two weeks now, and so far, so good.

Dad is now gone on a 10-day vacation. While he's gone, and since we don't have jobs yet, my wife and I have been doing a lot of cleaning and organizing. I guess you could say we've been making some changes. Change is good. But we're trying not to do too much, so that, when he returns, he'll still recognize it as his house.

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