Everything always changes, but some things never do
One of my favorite playlists on Spotify is called "The Only Constant is Change." My sister created and shared it with me just a couple of weeks before I left to travel. Aside from the fact that she has great taste in music, I like it because it's both melancholy and upbeat, pensive and optimistic. The playlist serves as a musically poetic metaphor that all things--both good and bad--are fleeting and temporary.
"The only constant is change," is a favorite euphemism of those in today's world that are trying to keep up with the increasingly chaotic nature of the universe these days. And that group of "those people" constitutes literally everybody. Some might be more able to acknowledge it than others, but at some point we all wake up and are able to (maybe read: have to) come to terms with the fact that every morning something in our lives is going to be different. It could be something as significant as our feelings of safety and security in our community to something as simple as what's available in the pantry for breakfast that morning. As Nine Days said in the 90's, "your clothes never well as well the next and your hair never falls in quite the same way."
Everybody knows this. I've found it incredibly difficult while writing this to express some sort of thought about change that isn't told over and over again by self-help books. All I can do at this point in time, it turns out, is speak from my own experience.
For the most part I feel as though I've embraced change in recent months, usually finding more excitement in the unknown of a different country, airport, restaurant etc. than any anxiety about what can go wrong. This, ironically, is what has lead my trip to take a dramatic turn and the more I sit and think about change, the more I am able to simplify my attitude towards it:
Expecting that things will go a certain way, that people will respond to us in a certain way, that we will turn out a certain way as a result of our decision and experiences is futile, as acting in accordance with those expectations is assuming that all external factors at play in our lives are constant. It's already been established that the only constant they do embody is the constant to change on a whim.
So we can sort of understand this, great. How can we actually utilize this knowledge for our benefit?
I'm not sure really. And even if I did know, the "answer" could easily change tomorrow (see what I did there?) What I can say, is that from this point forward, I intend to make a conscious effort to life my life with this principle in mind. For me this means holding onto nothing; being willing to let go of things that want and need to go. It means expecting nothing; letting people and situations play out as they will and feeling only the need to respond in a way that is of the greatest good to myself and all of those around me.
I've also come to acknowledge the fact that my impulsive nature makes change absolutely impossible to avoid. In a lot of ways I think I thrive on the thrill of unexpected situations and the unknown. While the logical part of my brains tells me I should be fearful--or maybe cautious is a better word--going forward, I know that I'll still get on motorbikes in foreign countries, go skydiving and do things that insurance companies consider to be a major liability. Because at the end of the day--for better or worse--those things are guaranteed to keep life fresh and ever-changing, a change that I'm seeking rather than one I'm trying to escape. Everything always changes. Some things, like my impulsive addiction to adrenaline--never do.
As I was getting ready to write this blog post, the most recent article of one of my favorite writers Mark Manson came into my inbox. He summoned up "life" in his "Shut Up and Be Patient" article perfectly:
"And this is life. This is part of the bargain. The universe says, 'Hey, guess what? You get to exist!' And we say, 'Holy shit! That's great!' not realizing that existence is, by definition, a merciless and unending foray into the unknown."
I think that description is perfect. As for my two (more) cents:
Nothing about life makes any f**king sense. But who knows...maybe someday even that will change.