The Conundrum of Change
The ebb and flow of life are inevitable. Unavoidable. Change happens all around us, on a moment to moment basis, often without ever being noticed.
From the day our cells begin to multiply in the womb to the day those collective cells cease to be vital, we are changing. As are those that we travel life’s journey with, our kin, a partner, a pet, a plant.
We greet the sun every morning as we prepare for our daily routines then watch the darkness settle around us as we reflect on that day and find comfort in a good meal and the latest Netflix offering. The days themselves change as we pass through each season of the year. The sun and the moon sail across the heavens on their own destined paths. The clouds overhead are never painted with the same brushstroke. Without change, the brilliant display of autumn color in the trees would not be ours to enjoy.
Change is a road that we all travel together. It is something we experience each and every day. We’re used to it. Right?
As humans, it seems as though our brains have evolved to create a sense of continuity for ourselves, a sense of normalcy if you will. This practice is done with such urgency sometimes, it’s as though it’s done to meet the intended purpose of our species. To survive.
But is the real explanation as capricious as that?
Despite the consistent and beautiful changes that occur in this life, we strive and often struggle to achieve the illusion of an unchanging environment. Accepting the success of having raised children who have grown and are ready to be independent, just the way we taught them, is a difficult yet extraordinary thing. Some of us crave continuity and routine in order to feel safe and secure in knowing what to expect from life. A safe and secure confidence in our ability to handle whatever challenges lie ahead may serve us far better. An unexpected shift in our home or employment environments often times cause emotional upheavals within us, sometimes severe, other times subtle.
Yet in time, we adapt and herein lies what might be the key to this mystery.
Historically speaking, the idea of daily continuity and routine is a social construct that has been developed by people over centuries. Oddly enough, it seems in stark contrast to the very makeup and design of our biology. Which is simply to successfully adapt to change.
The struggle between these two rather basic concepts has led to many a conflict. Smaller ones might include the struggle between subsequent generations in which the older ones find difficulty in understanding why the younger ones are compelled to do things differently, aside from the obvious fact they are usually better and healthier ways. Larger conflicts include whole countries being quite literally torn apart over a difference in social ideology. History has proven that it is usually the group with new and better ideas that survive. The group that refuses to adapt, just as in nature with the survival of certain species, their ideology ceases to exist or remain relevant.
Perhaps we would do well to be open to the idea of finding continuity and routine in change itself. Getting lost in the illusion of a non-changing environment or the need to resist against change is counterproductive to our own personal sense of contentment and well-being. We need to remember that we are all human and as such, we are all hard-wired to successfully adapt. We need to trust ourselves. We deserve that. Right?