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.
The Reality of Things
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?
Changes that occur in this life are constant and often beautiful. Sometimes not, depending on your perspective. Yet, despite the consistency of change, we strive and often struggle to achieve the illusion of an unchanging environment. For example, accepting our success in raising now-grown children who are ready to be independent, just the way we taught them, is a difficult yet extraordinary bit of change.
Continuity and routine allows us to feel safe and secure in knowing what to expect from life. Confidence in our ability to handle whatever challenges lie ahead seems rooted in that consistent routine. An unexpected shift in our home or employment environments and BOOM! Emotional upheavals follow. Sometimes severe, other times subtle.
Yet in time, we adapt…. and herein lies what might be the key to this mystery.
A Little Perspective
Historically speaking, the idea of daily continuity and routine is a social construct that has been developed by people over centuries. Usually in support of social and economic stability. Clearly, those in charge of engineering those early constructs lacked an understanding of social psychology and cultural anthropology. In hindsight, these sciences allow us to see what worked in a productive, healthy way and what didn’t. Oddly enough, those old ways seem in stark contrast to the very makeup and design of our biology. Which is simply to successfully adapt to change.
The struggle between those who insist on the status quo and the innovators has led to many a conflict. Older ones just seem to find difficulty in understanding why the younger ones are compelled to do things differently. Ignoring the obvious fact that these new ideas are usually better and healthier.
Whole countries can be 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 eventually sees their particular brand of ideology ceasing to exist or remain relevant. Despite this process being proven again and again through the science of evolution.
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 change is counterproductive. If only to our own personal sense of contentment and well-being. 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?