Saturday, 21 April 2012

The Winds of Change

... Or was that my flatulent father? That wind does smell a little fragrant.

"The winds of change" seems to me a very apt piece of expresssion. Wind is pretty much an embodiment of change itself - heck knows it doesn't like sitting still, and the things it throws at you can range from wonderful to serendipitous to saddening to just plain strange. Or any combination of the three, if the breeze in question is a good multitasker.

Change has been a massive part of my life - not in the least as the British military seem to have trusted me with a quest involving the collection of stamps from every English-speaking country on the planet. While people look at me strangely and wonder why I'm not multi-lingual, I look back at them and think how strange it must be to stay in one place for more than three or so years. Change comes pretty naturally to me, and for the most part I'm rather good at taking it in my stride.

Which is odd, given that, personality-wise, I'm not all that fond of change. Call me craven, but as much as I love sticking my noses into strange places and rambling off on ridiculous tasks that often turn into dirty great adventures in their own right, I do like having a safe, stable place to come back to. Hence why I'm so attached to my boarding school - it's been my home for longer than anywhere else I've ever lived, and it's nice to be able to walk around a place without worrying you'll get lost, or forget your new address, or accidentally give the well-meaning policeman the number of the national radio station when you get lost (true story, actually. Don't ask.)

Of course, that's not the only sort of change in the world. There are lots of little changes happening around us all the time, with varying degrees of effect. The age of the milk in the fridge, the length of your toenails, the deadline for that deadly-dull essay, the time until that birthday of that cousin you haven't seen since she was two ... at least, you think she was two. And a she.

And then there are the big changes. Marriages, births, deaths, loves, accidents, miracles, Facebook features* ... and journeys.

* - please excuse me while I laugh myself to death 

Journeys can be the biggest changes of all. They're scary things - odds are you'll have a goal in mind, and you might get there, but the exact method of  getting there is likely to be as changeable as the sea when she's having caffiene withdrawals. There's nothing like a potentially life-threatening, world-shattering journey to teach you how to toughen up, scrape the mud off your bottom and watch out for the bogs better next time. Tolerance for mosquitos, even, comes with time.

But there's something even more about journeys that makes them even more special from all the other change in the world. No matter how hard, or boring, or difficult, or nerf-herding frustrating it is, you're going to learn things. What things, you don't know - about places, about people, about priorities, about the advisability of trusting the directions of men searching the moor for misplaced hunting hounds. And they can teach you about yourself. You might not like the lesson - at least Higher Mathematics doesn't try and shred your face with thorns, and even Biology doesn't stink as much as that marsh you just tumbled into. 

It might be hard. It might be frustrating. It might win the Supreme Suck award for supreme suckiness out of all the sucky sucks in this sucky world.

Don't give up, though. You might just be braver than you think. Or smarter. Or stronger. Or kinder. Or more determined.

Unfortunately, there's no guarantee you'll be cleaner. In fact, that's pretty much out of the question.

You can't have everything, though.

- Charley R


  1. Lovely post, my dear. Very lovely.

    Some journeys are teachers, but some journeys are detours that take you totally the wrong way - the lesson you learn is finding your way back again, and often you only manage that because somebody passing gave you a lift. It's very hard to get off those roads on your own.

    And sometimes you emerge from a journey knowing you're absolutely no better as a person than you were before. True, you now KNOW that you're a rubbish person, which is the first stage to sorting it out, but often the only thing you gain is experience - not life skills!

    1. Experience may not seem useful at the time, but when a similar situation comes back to bite you in the bum later, at least you can go "AHA!" and run away before you make the same mistake twice ;)

  2. There's a great saying I once came across, brought to mind by your title: "When the winds of change blow, even the most trivial of objects become deadly projectiles." Once I had stopped laughing, I thought about this and found it to be true. The same applies to your post. Change is sometimes good, sometimes bad, and most of the time it's different.

    For the past few sentences, I've been trying to figure out what I was trying to say. Oh, well. If you don't care, neither do I.

    1. I like that saying! 'Tis a good 'un there, bahahaha!

      Then again, even bad change can sometimes work for the better. I'm a bit of an optimist - I always like to think that the bad can teach me something, and I'll value the good more once the bad has been sorted out :P

    2. Indeed, 'tis a good outlook. If not for the valleys, there would be no mountains. And vice versa, depending on if you call mountains good things or bad.

    3. They're nice to look at, wonderfully inspiring and awesome, brilliant to climb when you're in the mood ... but not so much when you aren't xD

    4. Even more fun to fall off of. Less fun to hit the ground.

  3. As fellow military brat I understand how odd it is to live on one place for more than a set time. (Over here it was four years). In fact when my parents got divorced and I was no longer moving every so often I actually started moving my room (the benefits of being an only child). I did that three times, possibly four if you count changing the side of the basement my bed was on. :}

    Now it's looking like we are in this house we bought to stay - even my 'I've been here too long' hubby. It's a bit different when you've bought the house... But I'll stop there, as not many of you have probably had that sort of experience yet. :}

    And now I will just nod at everyone else's sage statements about the deeper issue of Journeys and what they do to and for us.

    :} Cathryn

    1. LOL, trying to move rooms for me would just be chaotic .... and the only other room available in my house is the spare room, which is exactly the same as the one I'm in now. No win, no fee xP

      Indeed - lots of good words coming in up here! We could be a philosophical society!

    2. Ha ha, I'm always moving my room around! I hate it always being the same, but unfortunately I have built-in furniture on one wall which SERIOUSLY limits what I can do with. I'm trying to persuade my parents either to let me move into my sister's room, or take out the ridiculously high desk that I don't use that's built in.

  4. Change. Interesting subject, that.

    I'm not exactly sure what to say about it, myself. I guess it depends on what's changing, because sometimes I'm okay with it, but sometimes I have trouble getting used to it.

    You've been through a lot more change than me, of course, what with all that moving. But regardless of the kind of change it is, being able to take it in stride is definitely a good trait - make sure you hold onto that ability!

    The thing is, whether you like change or not, it's going to happen regardless. And the silver lining of that is, like you said, you're always learning from changes and journeys. :)

    So basically, what I'm trying to say in this long and rambling comment is: you're quite right. As usual, you were able to take something helpful/meaningful and then liven it up with that wonderful humor of yours. :) Fabulous post, Charley!

    1. Thank you! I'm very glad you enjoyed it :)

  5. I honestly can't imagine moving around as much as you apparently have - I've been in the same house now for almost 15 years O_O but it's good that you find solace and comfort in your boarding school.

    Nope, can't stand change, as juvenile as that probably sounds XD Little changes are fine... but big things like: a new house, family members moving away, a new job, etc. Hate those things. Spontaneity is something I've never really been able to grasp, when it comes to things other than my personality. Probably why University never worked out that well XD

    But I do admire people that CAN cope with change easily. You guys are the people that tend to go really far, because you're not afraid to try new things, or take every opportunity that's offered to you.

    1. Change is weird - I don't like it, but I do tend to just roll with it. It gets easier once the initial pain is past for me, and I'm lucky 'cause I've suddenly rediscovered optimism that tells me things might be better or new or exciting this way ... unless it's moving, I'm a bit jaded and tired of that, or Facebook layouts. Those just piss me off xD

      And hey ho, each to their own I say! There's gotta be those that don't like the change to remind those of us that can cope that it's still there ;)