I really like cereal. I would eat it for every meal if I could. My personal goal has always been to be rich enough to have whatever cereal I want, whenever I want. Whether it be Honeycomb, Kix or Frosted Mini-Wheats, a big bowl of breakfast soup is exactly what I need to start my day.
I like cereal for more than just the taste, though. Being raised by a single mother, cereal was like a father to me. Cereal always made sure that I was happy. It was comforting to know that Cap’n Crunch would be there when I got home from school while my mom was at work. To be honest and completely serious, cereal was one of the few consistencies that I’ve had throughout my life.
Many people have come and gone. Many fashion trends are now tacky. Many people have hurt me. Cereal, though? Cereal was there. The cereal bowl was my panic room, and I took a lot of bowls.
I’ve never been good with change and haven’t made peace with the fact that it’s always happening. Every day we change and grow, no matter how minuscule that change may be — like trying alternative milk in your cereal for the first time. I, personally, prefer whole milk, but you do you. Some philosopher said the only constant in life is constant change, but I don’t know: Cereal has been pretty consistent since the 1860s.
These last 12 months have been filled with too much change for my liking. I finally moved to the far north that is Berkeley; I ended a relationship of more than two years and my job of five; and I tested positive for COVID-19 during finals week. Some philosopher said everything will be alright in the end, and that if everything isn’t alright, then it isn’t the end. Seeing no end in sight, I’m excited to experience immortality. I’ll have plenty of time to eat cereal.
For the last few months, this fear of change permeated into other aspects of my life. Whether it be a change of address or change of mind, I didn’t make any progress — even if the change would have positively or even neutrally affected me, such as asking for an incomplete in a class that I was destined to fail, or approaching a stranger to compliment their outfit. I would panic, freeze and take whatever “inevitability” was coming to me; I was scared to meet new people and experience new things.
Every sentence spoken felt like an invitation to be hurt. It felt like I was watching a movie of my life, but I wasn’t the main character. I was an empty bowl of a person. I was drowning in milk but was too scared to save myself. I was sick of living like this.
So I made a change: The next time I went to the grocery store, I bought a box of Apple Jacks. I’d never had it before and was only familiar with it through those funny “CinnaMon” commercials. I really hate admitting how anxious I was buying a bright green box with a smiling apple on it.
Right when I got home, I immediately began to make my new soup. I was going so fast that I spilled milk and cried. Despite that 10-minute delay, I was pleasantly surprised for two reasons — I enjoyed the Apple Jacks, and the world didn’t end when I did.
I decided to try a new cereal every week, just to dip my figurative toes in the milk of change. Eventually, Apple Jacks turned into Raisin Bran, Raisin Bran into Fruity Pebbles and Fruity Pebbles into asking out the cute girl at work.
Every new cereal soon became paired with a change, risk or lesson. Apple Jacks brought open-mindedness and showed me that change doesn’t have to be scary. Beyond the risks any bran-based cereal imposes, Raisin Bran saw me making decisions for myself, even if I got disapproving looks (like when I bought Raisin Bran). Fruity Pebbles taught me confidence and brought me a girlfriend, who shares my fanaticism for cereal.
As my cereal repertoire expanded, my anxieties diminished; things were getting better. I was finally becoming the brave, confident, intestinally regular person that I knew that I could always be. I’ve settled into my new home, started a relationship with the girl from work and no longer have COVID-19. I’m the happiest I’ve been in two years. Things are finally becoming OK.
My plans of immortality are being thwarted by the goodness of change and other people. I think I’m fine with that, though, even if it means one less bowl of Frosted Flakes.
I really like cereal. I’ve become more accepting of change. I’m still not down for oat milk. Some philosopher said the only constant in life is constant change, so maybe we should get out of our comfort zones and try something new. Even if it’s just something small like trying a new cereal. Come on in! The milk is fine.