"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.
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