As 2015 draws to an end, I’m starting to thinking more about change….
One of the many facts of life is that we change. Although humans are creatures of habit, our success as a species lies in our ability to transform and adapt. Most of the time it is gradual, instant shifts from the norm are only ever seldom. A childhood favourite, C.S Lewis, once wrote, ‘Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different?’ and what a bona fide truth. Only when you observe the past, do you realise just how much has changed.
One morning, over a cup of tea, my Mum and I were looking over old photographs from when she was younger. I asked, ‘do you miss your twenty-one year old self?’ after a few moments she replied, ‘No. It scares me how much I thought I knew at your age. My confidence was unfounded.’ Food for thought: will I feel the same when I’m older? I certainly do not miss my twelve year-old self. If I were the same person back then, I’d be mortified. Not because I was a bad kid, just because a lifetime of learning has taken place and so much has changed in a year let alone a decade. Now, I am aware that there is yet a lifetime of transformation and growth spread out ahead of me still.
Change can be painful, but it is worth it. After all, every flower must grow through dirt. We have to learn, grow and adapt. You won’t even notice it happening half the time. It doesn’t always happen in earth-shattering moments; they come in tiny victories and realisations. Tiny subtle changes can alter the rest of your life. Everyone has those self-defining moments in which we may carelessly label and delimit as ‘life-changing’. The event is instant however the change is not. Gradually you settle into a new way of life before you’ve even noticed.
A wedding day is a special occasion, but maybe the morning after is more important when you spend your first full day as husband and wife. Perhaps it is not the birth of your first child, but the days after when you settle into being a parent. Maybe it isn’t your first day at a new job, but a few weeks later when you slowly feel more confident; a rookie turned expert. Or it could be something as simple and gradual as a child growing into an adult. These continuous changes are what mark us.
I’ve had life changing moments too: moving from Ireland to England, becoming a big sister, going to university, getting my first job and following my career goals and seeing progress. They all play an important role, but the often-disregarded realisations, victories and changes are what prove to be more monumental than any old occasion.
I remember when my nervous glances eventually turned into long adoring looks. How I realised that a ‘second’ love is more miraculous than the first. How a simple ‘I love you’ once felt foreign on the lips now a comfortable declaration. Not the act of graduating per se, but when I found the courage to keep working at three am, after crying silently in the university’s library. When I stopped giving the wrong people the right parts of me. The day I realised the importance of a positive outlook and how it has more power than anyone’s opinion. How sometimes a change of self is needed more than a change of scene. When I came to the conclusion that my first boss wasn’t a bad person, they were just indifferent. How I noted that making other people happy makes me unexplainably content. However one of the most colossal moments is when I tinted my eyebrows. I’m eternally grateful for the advice, it was life and face changing.
These moments, the tiny achievements and miniscule changes that are scattered across our lives, are what help us gradually become the person we are meant to be. A static life is a wasted one. Firstly we must acknowledge the change. Secondly we must accept it, and thirdly, embrace it. Time may change me, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.