The constancy of change in life is the one thing we can guarantee. Our world constantly changes around us, nations rise and fall, populations wax and wane as do the seasons and planets. Nothing ever stays the same.
A seemingly constant fixture in our skies, the sun, is constantly changing. It is a star and stars eventually die. Their atomic nuclear fuel exhausts itself, they fade and return to the puff of gas they once were. In fact, the whole universe is changing and unfolding. Galaxies are expanding and receding from each other but on such a huge time scale that we do not notice.
Change is Inevitable, Nature Reinvents
Climate change is a hot topic these days and politicians worldwide act as if it is the first time the climate has ever changed. But it isn’t. There have been Ice Ages, warming and cooling atmospheric changes before and not all due to man but just as the cycle of this planet’s life. In the past, humans moved with the changing climates, and species died because of the changes, but new life took their place. The volcanic island of Krakatoa is proof of the amazing renewal of life, following a catastrophic change. Nature is most persistent. Thwarted one way, she will weave and reinvent herself in another.
We also change, imperceptibly to ourselves on a day-to-day basis but more noticeable to others and over longer times. The mirror does not lie. One day, you realise you are old and the decades have flown by since your maybe misspent youth. Go to any hospital and you see the cycle of life. There is the joyous maternity word, the welcoming of new babies, then there are the palliative care units where those within are about to be farewelled. It is life and we have to get used to it.
Life is a Journey
We shouldn’t get overly attached to one way of life, one environment, or one set of people, because all these things will change as we do ourselves. The journey we plan will have detours and blockages and when we arrive at our destination, the person we set out with may no longer be beside us.
Unlike a car trip, life’s journey is out of our control because we are just a cosmic speck in the interwoven tapestry of life. What we do affects others and so what they do affects us. It is not all about you at all. Even if you believe in God, he allows free choice and you do reap what you sow.
The trick seems to be to view life as a journey from birth to death and try to enjoy the moments along the way. There will be many mountains and valleys. Sadly, not all of us have the best ride, but it’s what you make of it that counts.
Pack Tools for the Journey
Constancy of change in life is inevitable, so bracing yourself for it is a good start. Pack tools for life’s journey. Surround yourself with faith, family and friends, three buffers to the bumpy road ahead. Interesting that all three starts with the letter ‘f’. Not sure if this signifies anything!
But there are more than three. I can think of peace, joy and laughter, other things to pack for the journey. Then there is love, tolerance and charity. These tools will focus your vision on the good things in life and are like vitamin pills for mental focus.
These tools will certainly help with the smaller bumps and changes in direction along the way. It is the major changes that are the toughest.
Life’s Big Changes
Recently, I witnessed two cousins losing their life partners, one to cancer and the other to a heart attack. One had warning as the cancer progressed, the other no warning at all. Her husband died beside her early one morning. She of course is as devastated as the other cousin who had months to prepare but the shock of this sudden change in her life compounds the grief. Tragedies too, strike unexpectedly and are most difficult to process.
Fortunately, she is a woman with faith, friends and a marvellous large family, so has support. But grief has a cycle like other cycles in life. There is disbelief, anger, ‘why me?’ ‘why him?’ There is depression, tears, malaise, loss of interest in life, and in food. But finally, and time varies enormously, there will be some form of acceptance of the change, that life is now forever different, but it is still a life to live.
Life is A Gift Full of Change
I think the important thing when despair is inevitable, is not to grind to a halt for the rest of your life. The partner would not have wanted that for you. Grief is natural, but not to be swallowed and immobilized by it. Life is a gift, live it while you can.
I have myself experienced many changes in life. I forget what my original planned journey was now, as there have been so many detours. Certainly, I am different from before, as are my surroundings. How I got here, I’m not sure. Somehow, I dodged and weaved, collected a lot of baggage, and probably hurt a few people along the way. I have had to develop flexibility, resilience and realise kindness is the best mantra to live by.
Travel the Miles Carefully
Yes, life is all about change. Each of us is on a journey and you need to make it the best you can for yourself and others. You only get one go at it. Travel the miles carefully, looking out for potholes, detours, blockages, and other living beings in your path.
Don’t forget, how you travel your journey affects others. Be kind to yourself and them. We are all in this together bumping along on an unknown journey that at any time can detour and intersect with another’s. Be there for each other, be kind, be flexible and tolerant. No road rage please. Accept change and the confounding of your expectations as the constant in your life and you will arrive happier and refreshed.
Joni Scott is an Australian author with three published novels: Whispers through Time and The Last Hotel and Colour Comes to Tangles. Joni also co-hosts a women’s blog; https://whisperingencouragement.com/ and has her own website; https://joniscottauthor.com.