Have you guys ever read the book The Parable of the Talents by Octavia Butler? I’ve been in the middle of it for a long time. (For various reasons, it’s been an emotionally difficult read for me so I keep putting it down and picking it back up.) It prominently features a truth I believe in: Change is inevitable, and as we move through the world we must shape the change and shape our world.
At one level, this means that everything passes. In my cube at work, I have a button (from a performance of Avenue Q in NYC) that says, "Everything in life is only for now". That little sentiment has gotten me through some rough days. But I have another sentiment stuck to my monitor, to remind me that it doesn’t all have to be awful: "Don’t get so caught up in the daily grind that you never find any time to enjoy yourself." (That one’s from a fortune cookie. I take wisdom where I can get it.)
And opportunities will pass by, too. Have you ever been river kayaking? The river is moving, and it’s taking your boat along with it. You can fight against the current for a while, but eventually it’s going to win. Part of learning to navigate through dangerous rapids is "reading" the water: every bump and ripple gives a clue to what the river’s doing, and what’s under the water. As a kayaker, your goal is to get your boat started in the right place, apply force and direction at the right time, and come out safely where you want to be. When big changes show up, that’s when it’s time to start "reading the water" and getting ready to put the pieces in place to hopefully come out the other side in good shape.
This applies not just on a personal level, but society-wide. To my 36-year-old eyes, it certainly appears that we are living through a time of great change. Technology, social attitudes, and culture are going through an amazing churn, and we have so many ways of communicating. Now’s the time to jump in and speak up! Get involved in the things that are important– and shape the change to make a better world.
Anyway, these are the thoughts that go through my head as I stand in the weight room, heavy things in hand, making deliberate changes to my body…