We spend an awful lot of time worrying about change. When we are little, we think an awful lot about changes to come: we look forward to some of them, like getting older and wiser thereby enjoying more respect and consideration from our parents and other elders; and we dread others – changing school or moving house both bring about the traumatic prospect of having to make new friends, say goodbye to old ones. Yes, all in all, most of us think that change is rather a daunting prospect.
The problem with this mentality is that change is part of life. We face it everyday – changes in our relationships with others at home and at work; changes to our health; and, of course, changes to our material prospects. It is hard to deal with this idea of change when we are making decisions, however. We sit and ponder what life might be like after we take a decision: what will life be like after I get married? will I make new friends after I change job and city? will I still enjoy the privileges of my individuality after I have a child? These questions haunt our nights and make us anxious during the day. They are like a grey fog hanging over what used to be our happy, secure life: at work, at home.
The problem with this is that all of this only exists in our mind. It isn’t real. The only reason that it feels real is because we have been trained by media and the Internet to have vivid imaginations – we spend an awful lot of time “re-presenting” the world of images, sound and symbols of media in our minds. We think of our lives as stories or television shows. This might not be conscious – in fact it is most like profoundly unconscious – but it is real. And so we spin and weave narrative from the spindles in our minds, discouraging ourselves from making decisions. We worry about “losing our freedom”, but this is a complete illusion. There is no before and after. We don’t have to accept time as a line. In fact, in human relationships, time is a like a snaking country road, winding itself around hills and vales, beside streams and under mountains. Sometimes the road of time doubles back and crosses itself. Our lives are the same way. We shouldn’t think about “now” and “then”. There is only now. The rest is storytelling – future and past are nothing but construction and reconstruction. Isn’t it better to live in the reality of the life we lead – comforted by the real shared experience that we enjoy with those we care about?
In the end, the only real thing that we face is choice itself. And that choice shouldn’t be conditioned by fantasy.