A whole lot like being alive, I guess.
Only more tiring perhaps.
As far as I’ve been able to make out (and contrary to appearances, I claim no great knowledge of the truth beneath the world as it appears) life is nothing but change.
“It’s my belief that history is a wheel. ‘Inconstancy is my very essence,’ says the wheel. Rise up on my spokes if you like but don’t complain when you’re cast back down into the depths. Good times pass away, but then so do the bad. Mutability is our tragedy, but it’s also our hope. The worst of times, like the best, are always passing away.”
And so say I.
It’s a truth I see acted out every day. Inconstancy, impermanence, flux. These are the things we can rely upon. And there is some reassurance hidden within that. Even if it may not always be apparent.
It’s a tiring philosophy, but one that suits.
I like to hope it allows for a certain amount of optimism. Change cannot always be for the better, but you never know. And when nothing remains constant, nothing can hurt you for too long.
The worst shall pass, and the best must be savoured. For this too shall pass.
So you can wave goodbye to the saddest parts, knowing that something new is just around the corner, and you can throw yourself in to the happiest parts, knowing that these fleeting moments are infinitely valuable simply because of their fleetness.
Change is unsettling. Change is unsettlement. It’s the upsetting of how things are. The constant tidal movement of life.
You have choice in how you try and face it. And whatever route you take you are unlikely to keep it up permanently.
But I say try and surf those waves. Try and stand tall and look to the horizon. Try not to lose sight of your board when you wipe out, because it’s always there somewhere.
Enjoy the sun, and take what pleasure you can in getting wet.
What does change feel like?
It feels like being alive. Like riding a wave into the sunset. Like being drowned.
Yes, it can hurt. It can feel like you are all at sea, deserted and alone. With nothing to cling to.
Terrifying in fact.
But I like to hope it can often be a question of attitude. Remembering that it is easy to float. Trying to stretch that into treading water safely. Then in turn relearning how to swim. Pick a direction to go in, and follow it.
You never know, you might find your board again.
Right. I think I’ve wrung that metaphor dry.
Today, change feels like being tired. Like being drained but satisfied. Scared of what the future holds, but optimistic that there’s a way forward.
There’s always a way forward.
Illustration by Anna-Kaisa.