Both. Change happens. It has been happening since the beginning of time (however you define that), and will continue to happen until the end of time (however you define that). Some changes are good and some changes are bad, but they are happening and they will happen. (Note to self: “Don’t get into a discussion about evolution”)
The natural world can teach us a lot about change. Seasons change, weather changes, animal species change, even the tilt of the earth changes. Nature is in continuous flux.
Some of these changes are beyond our control, but some of them can be, and have been, controlled by our decisions and behaviors. I am not going to get into an argument regarding global warming, but if you don’t think we have an impact on nature, take a drive down the street to an area near where you live that used to be filled with trees and underbrush and possibly some wildlife, and take a look at the new houses, or the high-rise apartment building, or the new shopping center. One of us made that decision.
Changes can be subtle or they can be drastic. Some may take millennia or they can happen in a split second. However they happen, they affect us. In fact, every event in our lives has some effect on who we are and what we do. For instance, if we go to a movie or watch a TV show, we are a different person afterward than we were before. The plot of the story, the characters, the general feel of the show has an impact on our minds. This could be positive or negative, but we are changed in some way.
Most of us resist change. I have a set routine for almost everything I do on a daily basis. If any part of that routine is changed, I am not a “happy camper.” Friendships come and go, and usually when they are going, we try to resist, because we have become comfortable with that particular relationship. And even if that friend happens to return to us, the relationship will still never be the same, because it has changed.
Age changes us. I’m sorry, I had to say it, but at 71, I’m entitled to say it. Take a look at a picture of yourself taken 10 years ago, and then take a look in the mirror. Sure, there are things that we can do to counteract the changes of age. We can dye our hair, grow a beard, have plastic surgery, go on a diet, or any one of dozens of other remedies, but the fact still remains that age has changed us. However, age doesn’t just change our appearance or the abilities of our bodies to perform certain activities. Our life experiences have changed who we are. Hopefully we are all wiser than we were twenty years ago. And don’t get me started on our mental capacities and memory functions.
So, what do we do about change? How do we cope with the changes in our lives, in the environment, in our relationships? Some of these changes are controllable, some are not. We can certainly change our own behavior and activities, but we can’t change someone else’s. Each person is in control of themselves. I am reminded of the Serenity Prayer of Reinhold Niebuhr, “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.” Or to use the words of Zac Brown in his song Let it Go, “Save your strength for things that you can change, forgive the ones you can’t, you gotta let ’em go.”