December is sandwiched between two of my favorite holidays —Thanksgiving, because of its family focus and its message of being thankful for all we have, and New Year, because of its focus on new and therefore the time to reflect on how much has changed, how fast last year went by and what we’d like to change while the next year flies by.
December is our month to choose.
Changes aren’t every generation, every decade, year, month, week, day, hour or minute. Change is every second. We’re always in a state of change, continuously transitioning from one thing to another. The earth is always moving, rotating, changing, and if we’re trying to keep things as they are, or worse, make things the way they were (you know, the “good old days”), we’re fighting against the facts of life on this wonderful planet.
Change can be threatening. More so for some than others, but we all find comfort clinging to the familiar. Socrates lamented the “new” written word because it would keep us from using our memory and therefore destroy the oral tradition of passing knowledge to others. I fear his psyche would’ve really been rocked when Gutenberg established the mass production of the printed word.
We all still favor the music we enjoyed during our fun loving, partying 20s. My dad once said if he ever started using one of those new calculator things, he’d have to double check it to be sure. I could fill a lot more than this column with past examples, but now we have electric cars to adapt to. And Artificial Intelligence. Help! What exactly is that? What can it do?
My obvious point is we can’t avoid it. Change just is. Accept it. But we don’t have to jump on everything that comes along. We can be selective. In December, I’m inviting you to, along with me, evaluate where we are as individuals in our health, our family relationships, our vocations/responsibilities, our lifestyles, and then to privately, quietly, plan some improvements as part of our acceptance of the inevitable changes another year is certain to bring.
Someone recently asked me if I thought “things were better or worse.” While that’s a pretty generalized question I guess I knew what was meant. It was a worldview cultural question. And it was about changes. The implication was that the sky was falling. I know I answered immediately: “They’re just different.”
My answer was immediate because it reflected some of my favorite words to live by. “Don’t Compare.” Don’t compare what exactly? Anything. If we’re comparing, we’re not experiencing. And if you think the sky is falling due to recent changes, you’re probably comparing life today and all the weight of being a responsible adult, with the freedom and youthful exuberance we’ve all left behind somewhere. Study history. The world over centuries or U.S. history over decades. Human beings have dealt with far worse.
As you plan your improvements for next year, please leave some room for my January column because IF you’ll add it into your life I know you’ll benefit.
Agree? Disagree? Brian Cole welcomes your viewpoints on his columns. Brian Cole can be reached at 757-599-5999 or by email at Brian5995999@msn.com.