Let's talk about change. . . . . . . . . .
Change. Transitions. Alterations. Movement. We’ve all heard these words and might associate them with multiple different meanings. According to the Oxford English Dictionary (2018), ‘change’ is defined as ‘Making different. Altering, or modifying.’ You know, that simple thing that we all take in our stride and is super easy for us to do…………………..!
A statement that might not be uncommon to hear is, ‘I don’t like change.’ Us humans can be a very particular breed. Order, routine, familiarity; we like to know what is happening in our lives. Not only what is happening, but where, when, how and why. And we don’t stop there. It would be nice if we could know all the above for our families, friends, work lives, social lives, too.
It can be helpful, vital even, in our daily lives, to maintain some kind of order, some semblance of routine. How on earth would we proceed without it? Knowing what is happening enables us to plan and focus, not only for the present, but for the future. Order, sense making, risk assessing, preparing and predicting can be essential aspects of living.
At the same time, as humans in the 21st century, our lives can become full to the brim with structure, planning and preparation. And the lists…… endless lists; diaries bursting at the seams with ‘to do’s’ and ‘don’t forgets’. When we tick something off our ‘to do lists’, there’s a long exhale; a sigh outwards…….. We’ve done it! We’re accomplished. We have order. We are in control.
We don’t want change; we want to know for sure. We want certainty. That’s what makes a good life……. Isn’t it?
But, what about when things aren’t certain? What about when something happens that completely upends our order and routine; our certainty? The song, ‘I came in like a wreeeccckkiiiinnnnggg baaaaallllll’ just played loudly in my head as I wrote this.
An interesting observation about human life is our perceived notions of control. We think we have it. We truly believe that we do. We are planners, risk assessors, preparers of life events. Until we’re not. Until something sweeps in and pulls the rug from right under our feet. Then, there is change.
During such times of change and transition, we might be impacted in various ways, giving rise to a multitude of physical, emotional, psychological expression. Change can feel challenging, unsettling, terrifying even. We might cling with all our might to the familiar, desperately seeking some common ground on which we believe we belong; where we think we should be.
What are we really clinging to? What do we think lies in the solid ground of order and sameness? Happiness? Joy? Excitement? Aliveness? Do we really feel that way when we are there? Maybe so. At the same time, do we ever actually have any control? Really? Situations, life events, relationships, experiences, all occur way outside of any kind of perceived control that we think we might have. And when they do? Well, is there any wonder that we feel discombobulated, out of sorts and not ourselves, after living lives where being in control might have taken centre stage (culturally, via our families, learned at school and other institutions).
Last week, I took a trip to the beach at dusk to watch the sun set (one of my favourite things to do). I observed the scene, that changed from a bright yellow glow to various shades of burnt orange, finally fading to pink and purple hues scattered across the night sky. That’s life, I thought. That’s it. Nothing stays the same. Everything changes; it’s what’s supposed to happen. We are fluid, ever changing, beings, bending and moving with life as it occurs.
Just as nature demonstrates throughout each season, we too are this way. The nature of life is change. The sun, that night, didn’t cling to the sky, using everything in its power to avoid change. Instead. It put on a beautiful show of colour, vibrancy, buoyancy and magic, sinking, and alive in its essence of change.
A beautiful thing indeed.