Change. It’s the one constant in life – everything is in an unending state of change. Sometimes it’s slow, like aging. When you look in the mirror each day, nothing appears radically different from the day before. You can even have years where you look back at photos of yourself and you appear essentially the same. But make no mistake – you are physically changing whether you notice it or not, and there will always come a day where you look in the mirror and don’t recognize yourself, because you will have grown old and not noticed it while it was happening. Sorry, it’s just reality.
Change can also happen fast – the diagnosis of a disease, for example, or a traumatic accident. There are outwardly expressed physical changes, and then there the ones you can’t see – changes in cognition, memory, and creativity. Spiritual changes, changes in relationships, changes in our understanding of life itself. Psychic traumas.
Changes in what we want, what makes us feel fulfilled, changes in what we desire. Changes in our financial status, where we choose to live (or where we are forced to live). Changes in family (the death of loved ones), changes in friendships. Perhaps changes in our careers – the list just goes on and on and we haven’t even discussed sociological or technical changes.
So how do we cope? We adapt. Some of us do better than others, but we all essentially have no choice. Some will attempt to ignore changes and try to keep living as though things are the same as when they were young and first learning how the world works. The problem here is that the world and our health keep changing whether we acknowledge it or not, so these people eventually get left behind.
Most of us try to adapt as best we can. It’s not easy, but there are great rewards for those who can pull it off. Maintaining engagement with life and the excitement of learning new things immediately come to mind. The satisfaction of self-initiated personal growth is another.
Unfortunately, change also implies letting go – something that can be very hard to do. Evolution implies changing from one thing into something new. It’s the ultimate form of adaptability. It’s one critical area of life that we have some control over. We can’t stop changes from happening, but we can choose how adaptable we will be.
But all of this hinges on our ability to actually recognize when it’s time to adapt, to not be blind to opportunities for growth, to recognize that things are no longer what you thought they were.
Ignore these changes at your own peril.