Change is normal...........
A friend whom I’ve met in real life though I know her more through an online discussion list and reading her blog, has posted about having a normal day, after a rather arduous day yesterday….This is a topic that I’ve thought about from time to time for the last 38 years or so – always expecting the normal days to begin……..But where were they?
And my idea of what they would be like was totally formed from what I saw of my mother and grandmother’s days when I was a little girl, post WWII, growing up in a suburb on the west side of Cleveland. Quiet, busy but never rushed days spent mostly at home with a little shopping thrown in. My mother had her “club” once a month where she had a lunch and played cards for an afternoon with good friends from the neighborhood. Otherwise she was not “a joiner” and rather disdained that concept. A very quiet social life, little going to the doctors, no health insurance to complicate things. Church once a week, for the most part. On a day to day level, a quiet but reasonably happy life, at least to my young eyes.
My blogging friend ended her entry with the words, “today will be a normal day–and I do so love normal. Hooray for days when I can stay home and remain in my old work clothes and clean flower beds and do dishes and read on the porch without having to think, “Hurry and enjoy this so you can do the next thing,” but rather, taking long, leisurely drinks of countryside-living in springtime.”
And I posted this comment:
“….This is a topic I’ve thought about for years. I used to expect we would sometime begin to have what I thought of as “normal days” which would be like my mother’s normal days in the 40s and 50s and early 60s when I was still at home….But even though I was a SAHM all my married life (after I had kids, before that I was a SAHW, I guess!) the normal days from the 70s to now have not been the same sort of days my parents had. Life is busier. Life is more electronic in nature, than when my parents were in their glory years. Nothing is as confident, nothing is quite as gently paced,nothing is quite as human and kind, as it seemed then. And I guess we have to find our own normal, as well as we can. We can make our normal fit as closely as we can to our ideals, but the whole world is different now. I don’t think the world was all better then, or all worse now, but it is………different.”
I don’t think days without any special event or emergency are the norm anymore.
Hardly any of my days are like my mother’s. Our lives are so changed by public events, technology advances, expanding bureaucracy and the swirl of delightful new ideas like global warming and extremist terrorism. (But our parents had just come through the depression and a great and devastating war and were now confronting nuclear anxieties, though in a context of perhaps the most robust economy in our history.)
It is worth the effort, immensely worth the effort, to try to slow down and connect with the world we call “nature”, as if it were out there, separate from us, as if we were ever disconnected from it. We aren’t, but our minds are slow to grasp this truth. It is worth stepping outside and refreshing our awareness of the connections to the life that is going on out there. It’s worth calming ourselves to observe it, and feel the happiness that always comes when we take the time to do this…
It is always going to be an observation of change out there, similar to noticing the alteration in our own emotions and thoughts. Everything always changes.
But the present moment is the one we really have. In high school I was taught it was the only moment when time touches eternity. And now I read the same thing in many Buddhist books about mindful living. The future isn’t here yet. The past is over. But this moment is the one we have.
Probably change is the only normal there will ever be, but there is a way of seeing it without being so attached that we must grieve this reality as if each change were a great loss, because, look, something new is just around the bend, something mysterious, something full of hope. And in the meantime, the only time we have- there is NOW! The great gift from God, which, as someone clever once said, must be why it is called “the present”.
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