I personally don’t understand people who lament about change. The ones who get personally offended when a new house is built in the neighbourhood. Or a road is expanded. Or farmland is sold and upscale condos replace it.
I drafted this post while I walked in the trails winding through the village where I grew up. They had changed since the last time I walked them. Trees fell. Leaves covered once-loved paths. Water washed away chunks of cliffsides. Another rock in the rapids. I wasn’t entirely comfortable with the changes, since erosion had affected the trails and I needed to find different routes, or the trail had gotten incredibly steep. But I wasn’t sad or hurt or upset. Two hundred years ago, before any of my ancestors left Scotland and Japan, these trails and this river housed water mills.
This is nature. It moves.
I know some people have difficulty adapting to change. They get anxious, or nervous, or angry, or confused. They have their reasons, and I’m not going to delve into why some people find change and changing things to be difficult. There are always a wide variety of why people can’t handle change. I have never been one of those people.
Sometimes I think back on how my surroundings used to be, compared to how they have changed. But the world does not need to line up with a single snapshot from my memory. Who even knows if that memory is accurate and truthful to what the past was? What if I’ve changed my memory based on how my life has changed since then? There’s no way to know, so there’s no reason for me to complain.
I think a large part of my understanding and acceptance of change comes from my childhood. Nothing was ever secure. The predictable aspects of life came from the disjoint and the sudden change. I could rely on change. I could rely on something abrupt. I could anchor myself and pretend that hectic chaos was normal.
Of course, that isn’t very healthy. Needing chaos to function? Only feeling security when something is up in the air? I’ve deviated from those childhood lessons. I plan things and prefer when things are either set in stone or set in motion. (Eyy, there’s a set of antonyms for you.) I don’t like when I can’t predict something, but it doesn’t matter what I like or dislike. Uncertainty or surety exist whether I want them to or not in a situation.
Even when there is a new rock in the water’s course, it flows around it. When a cloud is battered by wind, it doesn’t stand firm in the atmosphere: it shapes itself to the current. A flower wilts. A fruit ripens. A construction crew and a housing company sign a contract to turn the forest behind my childhood home into a set of unneeded suburbs. My grandparents put the childhood home on the market. I move from this village to Windsor to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. I contemplate—seriously consider, really—moving out of the province. My hair grows because I decide to change.
I think change and control go hand-in-hand. Maybe there is a conflict between them for people that makes them dislike one or the other. Even controlling something in order to get change, like controlling a diet or exercise regime to change your body. That’s an opposition between change and control. Using one to get the other. Changing something to gain control. Controlling something to incite change. If something is out of your control, then why the fuck are you getting offended? Or upset? Or disappointed? You can’t control everything, just like you can’t change everything. Maybe expectations and desires come into play too.