Category Archives: Change

We All Change; So They Say~

We All Change; So They Say~

“…the only hope given us, although only in retrospect, is that we change.” ~ Michael Ondaatje in Warlight.

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At a recent reading given by New Yorker book critic and award-winning author James Wood, he introduced his new novel called Upstate, about family relationships and the universality of the interactions within them. The author described the discomfort felt by a father visiting his daughter in her adult home, as opposed to his ease in having her return to his. Obviously, the latter assured him that not much had changed, and she was still his little girl, where the former reminded him that everything had changed, undeniably her and especially him. The truth of this disclosure was striking in its simplicity and commonality. It recalled for me the ending of Tara Westover’s stunning new memoir, Educated, in which she states, “I am not the child my father raised, but he is the father who raised her.”

Initially, that sentence shook me in its perceptiveness, exposing the nature of loneliness connected to leaving family and home, and of course, childhood. Fledging into the people we are to become can seem like the ultimate act of freedom, but we all know its bittersweet quality of something gained but so much lost. Do we really want to be free, let out of the cage that gave us structure? Ms. Westover’s insight comes from the point of view of the child leaving the parent, while Mr. Wood spoke of the parent’s unique agony of letting go of not only a child, but his own life as he acknowledges the change. I see that as the more challenging of the two truths. As a grandparent, I looked a little deeper and picked up the thread of what life is really telling both the child (who doesn’t want to hear anything) and the parent who isn’t confident enough to demand to be heard.

I’ve come to realize Ms. Westover is only partly right when she says she is not the same, but her father is. No one stands still while they breathe. We all grow and change, and we keep fledging throughout our lives. Our children, former associates and friends, relatives and acquaintances from the past all need to know that we, too, are different. Maybe we’re all afraid of accepting that we’ve moved on in our lives because it marks evolution none of us feel comfortable with. I know this to be true and assure anyone who feels the fear that it’s all for the good. It’s much worse to be left behind.

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Lifeline~

“There are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.” ― Ann Landers When I hear someone say they’ve been thrown a lifeline, I picture a round, white floatation device we used to call a ‘lifesaver’ with a line attached to a savior at its other end.… Continue Reading

Moving Right Along

Moving Right Along

“Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.”- Stephen Hawking How do you know when someone’s really gone? It seems there are so many markers at first…empty rooms, meals alone, no one to share a good movie or concert with, to travel with, to ski with, a voice you don’t hear, handwriting you don’t see…the… Continue Reading

Adaptation~

Adaptation~

“You haven’t changed a bit!” I would have assured the woman I saw passing me on the street, had I stopped to talk.  The daughter of one of our former presidents, she went to a girls’ school in New York at the same time I did, and I recognized her instantly, as always. Unfortunately, I… Continue Reading

A New Life

A New Life

What’s a new life, and how do you get one? So many people have been saying to me recently, enjoy your new life; but if I have a new life, it’s news to me. I keep looking for the landmarks of change and missing them. Either because I don’t know what I’m looking for or… Continue Reading

Adaptation

Most people jump to thoughts of Charles Darwin the minute they hear the word, ‘adaptation’; perhaps not the seven-year-old Darwin of the portrait to the left, but the father of the theory of evolution, nonetheless. One and the same, Darwin was already studying natural history, as this portrait of him clutching his beloved plant confirms.… Continue Reading