They say that two things in life are certain: death and taxes. But the other thing that is certain is that change is inevitable. As long as you are living, you will change. Some people pride themselves on never changing, as though by staying the same, they are proving their humility and connectedness to their roots.
But by saying you have not changed, all you are really saying is that you haven't moved in any direction, whether good or bad, you have not had any new experiences and you have been unaffected by the experiences you have had. I doubt that is true. And so I am sure, whether or not you realise it, you have changed. And inevitably circumstances, as well as those around you, have also changed.
Change can be difficult. Sometimes we change more slowly than those around us and when a loved one goes through a growth spurt, it tears us up that they seem to be on a faster conveyor belt, steadily moving away from us. The bond that we hold so dear and the memories we shared feel in jeopardy. We feel betrayed because we thought there was an implicit promise that things would always be the same, you would not change and I would not change. And when it appears that the sacred promise has been broken, there is a sense of injustice, betrayal and grief.
I myself have been through this. And let me tell you something, it takes a long time to get used to a new normal. To survey your new territory and to adapt. To find new things to replace what was lost or at least to try and get used to a life that you were ill-prepared to accept. Simply, change when it comes in the form of a loss, is hard. There are no two ways about it. And sometimes that loss is invisible. The person or situation is still there but it is not the same. We feel a sense of loss even while we still physically have it, or them, and shed nostalgic tears over something that is left somewhere in the past.
A famous quote about the past springs to mind here: the past is a foreign country, they do things differently there. What this means to me is that, even if we try and go back, try and hold on and resist change, we can't. There is no map to get to the past and, strangely, we don't even remember the past accurately in the first place. Mostly, though, what it means to me is that the person attempting to go back has changed so much that the past is foreign, awkward and would make one feel out of place even if they could ever find a way back.
So change is inevitable. But progress is not. We can change for the better or worse. We can let life make us better or worse. We can let circumstances make us better or worse, We can let people make us better or worse.
Bad things happen to good people. Life can be unkind and unfair. And arguably time and age can be depressing. Not many people want to change in a bodily way and only the best of us are willing to accept the unkindness of age, sickness and the loss of the energy of youth with a glad heart. But age and time show us, more starkly than anything else, that change is inevitable and we cannot fight it.
How do we react to change? Well, it depends. Not many of us like change even when it's for the good. We are mostly creatures of habit and routine. Consistency gives us a feeling of safety and security. Sometimes, when confronted with change, we desperately try to hold on. Sometimes we act out and throw tantrums. Sometimes we move away from it first to lessen the sting of it leaving us. Sometimes we stay stuck in our memories. Sometimes, we even use manipulation and subterfuge to dismantle the possibility of change rocking our boat. To somehow stay in control.
But we all know that, while it's ok to go through certain emotions when dealing with change, it's not healthy for this to go on indefinitely. As change is certain, the better we can adapt and even embrace change, the better our life will be and the more successful, because people that embrace change, and equate it to opportunity, almost always come out on top, bounce back, and are ready for the next adventure.
And it's also good to remember that not all change, even when it may appear negative, is bad. The change that comes from gaining in years can lead, a lot of the time, to greater maturity and a better ability to navigate life. And that is a positive, life-enhancing change. Change that comes from loss, whether of a friendship, love, career or life stage, comes with the possibility of newness, a blank slate and different mountains to try and conquer.
For me, I am one of the lucky ones, I guess, because I mostly enjoy change and I am stimulated by new horizons. Change for me equates to new opportunities to learn and grow and, as so much of my excitement for life comes from learning new things, and because change is always a catalyst for learning, change is mostly a positive experience for me. But not always! I am a clinger when it comes to my dearest loves ones and I don't always deal with change in that department too well at all.
We all have our challenges with accepting change. But perhaps if we start seeing the moment of change as a launchpad, we will appreciate it as a most important life milestone that should be handled with care. We can use this launchpad as a springboard to soar higher than before. We can allow the change to transform us so much, that we are transported in a direction where the past is so foreign that we wouldn't want to go back, even if we could.