‘Come gather ’round people wherever you roam, and admit that the waters around you have grown
and accept it that soon you’ll be drenched to the bone — if your time to you is worth savin’,
then you better start swimmin’, or you’ll sink like a stone for the times they are a-changin’.’
Bob Dylan recorded those lyrics in 1964—fifty two years ago. I was five. Noticing changes around me (or at least the sort of changes Bob was referring to) was not really at the top of my agenda. But re-reading those words now it is almost like ‘Well—der—way to state the bloody obvious!’
Coming as we are to the beginning of yet another new year it is probably a good time to take stock, and think about where we might be going, or what we might be doing, in the months ahead. I am not a fan of New Year celebrations (in truth, they make me a little melancholy) and I rarely make ‘resolutions’ (and I never keep them when I do) but the approach of another new year does always make me more aware of changes that have happened, and continue to happen, in the world around me . . .
From a universal perspective at least, change is the only constant—it is happening all around us, every day, and, seemingly with total disregard for our hopes, needs or desires.
So what are the rules? How should we deal with unexpected, and often unwanted, changes to our everyday lives? I guess it depends on the kind of change you experience doesn’t it? If you are the one trying to initiate the change—like expanding your social life, or travelling more, or trying to get fit—it’s great. If, however, the changes all seem to be beyond your contol—your relationship is failing, you are losing your job, are experiencing health serious issues or the government has moved the goalposts again just when you thought you were getting out from under—not so much!
Most of us are, quite naturally, concerned with our own everyday existence—and so we should be. I am no different. I have embraced some unexpected changes in my own personal world over the years—but I have also raged (really raged) against some too. I can’t tell you how much time I wasted eating lots of chocolate frogs, drinking lots of wine and grumbling very loudly to anyone who would listen about the unfairness of a certain situation or a door that had just been slammed in my face ( . . . not that eating chocolate frogs and drinking lots of wine is a complete waste of time of course, but you get my drift . . . )
Thankfully I am a tad brighter than I sometimes appear and eventually it did dawn on me that once I had eaten all the chocolate, drunk all the wine and my friends and colleagues had started hiding behind the furniture when they saw me coming, that nothing much had been achieved except me making myself extremely unhappy, extremely fat, and, no doubt, extremely unpopular, and I decided to ‘suck it up’ and started looking for a way to move forward.
(Most self-help gurus would no doubt rephrase that into something more shiny-happy, like ‘release the past’, ‘think positive thoughts’ or ‘embrace changes as opportunities for growth’. Whatever . . . )
All I know is, for me at least, the moment I actually stopped staring at that firmly closed door (or at least stopped physically trying to break it down) was also the moment I finally started noticing the tiny cracks open in the windows around me. Perhaps change, even unlooked for, isn’t always bad. Maybe that door was closed for good reason.
So anyway—before I start sounding any more like Jedi Master Yoda (‘May the Force be with you’)—here’s hoping that any changes that come into your life in 2017 are ultimately all for the good . . . and if you feel they aren’t, start looking around for ways to deal with them. Look for those open doors and windows—and for the people who will help you get through them. Because, bless them, they are out there . . .
Happy New Year. See you all in 2017. 🙂