Imagine a sunny, beautiful day. Try picturing yourself walking down a nice street, watching people’s faces and feeling the fresh, morning air. Then try imagining another person coming right to you, with an open smile and whispering in a calm, but firm voice: “Hi, I’m going to change your life forever”.
What would you do?
At best, you would smile and, probably, accept to start a small conversation, out of politeness or curiosity. At worst, you will ignore that person completely and keep minding your own business.
Because we hardly get to experience change like this.
If life would be predictable and funny and enjoyable, then change, evolution, disruption will always come in this form. Somebody will warn us, will tell us exactly what we’re going to experience and even guide us for a little while.
Alas, life is not predictable, nor funny and hardly enjoyable – although we crave to believe it is. Life is a whirlwind of nonsense we’re navigating in a never ending free fall. We’re making up stuff all the time in the process of adjusting to this whirlwind and project meaning onto our experiences, creating our own, unique reality. And just when we thought we got it more or less together, then, bam! Change happens.
At first, we don’t even realize it’s change. Because we’re still inertially implementing the old patterns. We’re still managing our never ending free fall based on what we learned so far. And we resist anything we don’t understand, anything that threatens our feeble shell of meaning, our thin layer of predictability that we so painstakingly put together.
People who bring long lasting, meaningful change in our life can only be defined as change factors in hindsight. Only after our old ways are destroyed – in a painful process, involving confusion, loss and grief – we can see them clearly, for what they are. Only then we can understand their true role in our life. Only then we can integrate them into our little meaning cocoon and try to make the best of the new reality, until the next collision.
Until the change is complete, these people may seem difficult, challenging, a mix of curiosity, attraction and fear. And yet, if we stick with them enough to understand their gifts, they’ll eventually become our best friends, lovers or life partners.
So, let it come. When the storm comes, try to navigate it, instead of searching for shelter. When the old patterns are swept away by uncontrollable, meaningless or violent events (like a global pandemic, for instance), let them go.
Because change is never instilled by a nice person walking right to you, and whispering in a calm, yet firm voice: “Hi, I’m going to change your life forever”.