The Only Constant
“It’s only after you’ve stepped outside of your comfort zone that you begin to change, grow, and transform.”
- Roy Bennet
Any change, big or small, is never able to be completely prepared for. You can steel yourself, set things in motion, do anything under the sun; but still, despite all that you will never be ready when it finally comes for you. And unexpected change... you’re like the fly in the proverbial windshield. So, once change does come, what can you do? The answer is always to take it in your stride and adapt. That’s how you get through life, through changes big, small, and everything in between. This is shown most by uncomfortable changes. You have to be able to see the light in every cloud, to have a good outlook that flies in the face of daunting challenges and situations.
I am not exaggerating when I say that this pandemic, and all of its assorted detritus, is the biggest change in any of our lives. The world as we know it has been completely turned upside down and will quite literally never be the same again. We will continue on after this as a very different species and as very different individual people compared to how we were when we unknowingly stumbled into it in early months of this year. It’s very interesting to talk about this, but it all honesty this trope has been discussed to death by those who are probably more affected and more astute than I am. Because of this, I am instead going to write about the smaller yet still very significant change that is occurred in my life throughout this time.
At around 1 PM on Monday afternoon, during that absolute monster of a rainstorm, a bolt of lightning hit a tree along our street, downing it and in the process severing our power lines. The resulting electrical fire got hot enough to melt the pavement directly in front of our house, the air palpably sizzling with hundreds of volts of raw and unbridled energy. Thankfully, the fire somehow eventually burned itself out too without igniting the surrounding forest, but it too dealt its damage - the fiber optic cable providing Internet to our whole neighborhood was irreparably damaged. Although we didn’t know the extent of the damage at the time, it would eventually become clear that it would be a long while until we got the connection back.
Life without power is a whole different world than life with it, especially when you can’t even go outside. The day slows down immensely, and every one of its 24 hours is felt. Every time you open the refrigerator a little bit of cold leaks out, threatening to spoil everything inside. The night hours are given to tending the voracious fireplaces and, outside of the main rooms, lighting your way through the suddenly sinister and pitch-black corridors. Fire is everything, just as it was so many years ago. A box of matches and a candle on the bedside become your entire world if you get up during the night.
I wasn’t expecting this change at all. It came on suddenly and disappeared as abruptly as it arrived. I didn’t need it; I could have done without it; and there’s a very strong argument to be made that I’d be better off without the power outage. However, if I had that outlook I would stagnate right where I was. Only the strongest of wills can start their own personal change without an outside change first, and I don’t delude myself to be among them. What enables us to grow and evolve in our own lives is change, whether good or bad, whether expected or unexpected. Change is inevitable - there’s no point in not changing with it.