Sometimes it’s hard to just sit and be at peace. But today I find myself in my parked car, watching the leaves dance in the air, taking in the first sense of clarity I have had all day. The changing of the seasons always reminds me of the fragility of it all. The fleetingness of a moment, the transience of time.
Mother Nature continues to humble me, reminding me with each fallen drop of sunlight, nothing gold can stay forever. Soon, time will turn and I will have no choice but to turn with it.
Nothing gold can stay.
The words shrink me. They echo my impermanence and mock my mortality. They remind me that even the best things in life –– love, lust, sex, companionship –– moments of ecstasy and euphoria, they are just that: moments.
Suspended in time and space, sentenced to live out the duration of their existence in my mind. I used to think moments gave us life, but now I realize it is us who gives life to moments.
Where these words should fill me will fear, they fill me with comfort. Where I should find discomfort in the idea that I am not in control over all the events that take place in my life, I'm filled with a deep sense of relief. An unfamiliar sense of comfortability washes over me and I am reminded of my vulnerability and powerlessness against forces larger than myself.
Change will not knock on your door and ask for permission to enter, nor will it ask for forgiveness when it leaves you in pieces. Change doesn't ask for a seat at the table, it demands one.
But there's a consistency when it comes to change. Arguably, change is the only constant. The idea that no matter what, next year, the leaves will continue to fall and the wind will continue to blow, that every season will be one of rebirth and a new chapter of life will unfold after the last. The only thing you can count on in this lifetime, really, is the inevitability of change.
They say if you get pulled into a riptide, the best thing you can do is try to stay afloat. Swimming against the current will tire you out until your limbs give out and you eventually drown. The best thing you can do when going through change is keep your head above water. Chances are the current will take you exactly where you need to be.
There’s an old Ethiopian folklore about conquering fear. It’s about a young boy named Miobe. One day the young boy decides he will conquer fear and sets out to do just that. When he approaches a village, the townspeople ridicule him. “No one can find bravery where it does not exist,” they say.
“What do you mean?” asks the boy.
“We are being terrorized by a monster who lives up on that mountain! Can’t you see his terrifying eyes and scaly skin?”
Sure enough, the boy started to make out the faint outline of a monster in the distance. He could see his terrifying eyes, his horrible scaly skin and large, vicious teeth. Although scared, he was determined to conquer his fear and instead took a big breath and began to climb.
As he climbed, he looked up, and the monster appeared smaller and smaller. Suddenly, his teeth weren’t so sharp, his body wasn't so large, and his gaze not so threatening. When he was halfway there he looked up again. “How odd,” he thought. “My eyes must be playing tricks on me.”
As he reached the summit’s peak, he looked around. “There’s nothing here!" he exclaims. "I climbed all this way and my eyes were deceiving me?”
He continued to look around, baffled and viscerally upset by the inconvenience when suddenly, he heard a noise at his feet. It was a frog, who looked up at him with frightened eyes. The child laughed. This was the monster that he had been so afraid of …
The point of the story is that change is scary, and oftentimes, the fear of the unknown looms over us with a threat that feels so real in our heads, that it starts to become our reality. From down on the ground, it’s easy to mistake frogs as monsters, and signs of change start to look like signs of impending trouble.
But when we near closer, we find that not only are agents of change much less scary than we once thought, but also could even possibly be a positive sign of growth.
It's a universal truth that becomes comforting as soon as you stop running from it. Like the seasons, change is a promise. I watch as two children kick around a soccer ball as their mother flicks the ash from her cigarette. The perfect metaphor for how a person can change. People change, people grow, nothing gold can stay and we know this. The leaves will continue to fall, the seasons will continue to change, and I along with it, will change too.