There are markers for the passage of time. The seasons change, temperatures drop or rise, one side of your planner gets thinner than the other until it’s almost time to buy a new one, movies that were in the theater are suddenly now on DVD or Blu-ray, friends’ birthdays come and go, and before you know it you’re standing right at the edge of a precipice and staring into the unknown. The kind of unknown that comes with the pages of your planner running out, or the next chapter of a story starts but you gotta flip the page to know what happens next. The kind of unknown when you find yourself at a crossroads and you can’t know what happens next until you make a choice first.
Yeah, the scary kind.
There is comfort in the everyday. There is safety in routine. There is something very reassuring about knowing what’s next.
But if there’s one thing I’ve learned living in this skin is that life is about change. Life never really lets you be comfortable for far too long. After all, how else are we to mark the passage of time but in the changes in ourselves?
The only way we grow is to be pushed past our comfort zone. The only way to learn is to reach out towards the unknown. Sometimes we’re ready for it. Sometimes it more or less hits us like a line drive out of nowhere knocking us off our feet. And mind you, line drives have killed people. (Trust me, I watch CSI — and the Drillers’ first base coach, Mike Coolbaugh, is an example of a fatal line drive too.)
But change will come. And we just do our best to roll along. I’ve learned that if I try to hang on to things too hard, I start to turn a blind eye to things that would have helped me deal with the changes. Things that could have helped me grow, be better, be prepared. And you know, that’s usually when things get all screwed up.
If you keep looking backwards all the time, you won’t know what’s coming right at you. And when it’s a line drive headed for you, you might wanna duck.
But despite change, there are also things that feel like…they never changed at all. You go on living everyday and there are these parts of you that just somehow still stay the same–or at least not as changed as it ought to have been by now. Like old wounds that should’ve healed by now — but I guess I keep pickin’ at it, so it never really gets a chance to fully close.
And of course, I’m still me. Still the same girl throughout the years. Kind of spunky, kind of always in trouble because I’m too impatient, kind of scared but annoyed that she does get scared, kind of the jeans-and-t-shirt girl despite efforts at being not, kind of tomboyish, kind of girly, kind of smart but slightly ditzy, kind of a goof but more of a dork, kind of battle-worn from life, and kind of still hopeful.
But then of course, as the years go by, I’ve changed too. Maybe a little more jaded, a little more sad, a little less book smart, a little more street. I’m a little bit wiser and a whole lot older, the smile’s changed from the full-on I-grin-and-the-world-grins-with-me, to a more tentative will-you-smile-back-at-me one. I’m a little bit stronger, tougher, less cool. I have a lot less faith in people, but a little bit more in the world. I’m a lot more careful about being hurt, but a lot more reckless with my life. And while I’m still hopeful, I don’t quite know what to hope for anymore.
It’s that great paradox Jacob Dylan sings, “I ain’t changed, but I know I ain’t the same.”
And in the end, time is just passing along, the seasons change, fashions come and go, the clouds in the skies change before our very eyes, and we move forward into that unknown.
“It’s up to you how far you go, if you don’t try you’ll never know.” –> that’s from The Sword in the Stone, and it’s what my dad always told me whenever I got scared to try something or whenever I didn’t know what to do. And in the end, it’s still how I deal with change. It’s up to me how far I go. I can stay and be the same and rot away…or I can move forward with the changes and grow.