Whenever something changes, it disturbs our ability to interact with the world.
A park is bulldozed to be redeveloped into apartments and we lament the loss of beauty in our neighbourhood.
You return to a town you visited a decade before, and the quaint little shops were replaced with a steel and concrete mini-mall.
Your high school reunion is full of old people who just happen to have the same names as your classmates did. Then you go to the bathroom and realise you are old now too. At least by the standards of the naive teenager you once were.
In Buddhism, there is the thesis that because change is constant, that all moments are ending, one must learn to adapt the spirit to accept this unending impermanence as the nature of the universe. Is this a valid idea? I don’t know. But what I do feel, is that as passionate, instinctive, intuitive creatures, we feel change keenly, and it tends to profoundly influence our lives. Not just the big stuff, all the little incremental phases of entropy. Everything is changing, and we must change to keep up with it. No wonder so many people are miserable so much of the time.
Then big changes in our personal worlds occur, and the scale of what has happened pushes us beyond the capacity to deal with daily life. The end of a relationship, a child leaves home, a bitter fight with a loved one and of course death. These all cause grief in their own way, and yet only death is truly permanent. It teaches us the true emotion of forever, in a way nothing else can. And the closer the lost person, the crueller and sharper the pain of that lesson will be.
Losing my father has made me notice change in my everyday world keenly, and at times threatens to create anxiety. A tree is cut down in the park, a shop closes down, and it seems so much significant than it should. How can everything be falling apart like this? I think to myself. But of course it isn’t, the world is just doing what it has always done. The challenge is what does this new awareness awaken in ourselves?