My father used to say, “the only thing you can count on to not change is change itself”.
Of course I had no idea, as a young person, what that meant. Youth is full of change. Of course things change. And what’s more is that life is dull, when one is young, if there is no change. Routine sucks…. when you are young.
I get it now. Change rattles my bones. It disrupts my world. I am so spoiled by the things that are constant that I begrudge things that aren’t. Oh – how I long for stability, calm, and steady. My pace is slow. I move when I am calm and pace myself to be calm. Last minute throws me into a tizzy. Even home renovations happen at a slow pace now. And that’s saying something for a woman who used to change things up every week – cuz it was good to change things up.
Ben, my eldest, moves back to university. Katya, my middle, leaves for Abu Dhabi. David, my youngest, moves into grade nine.
I am in a holding pattern. Thank God. My CA (cancer marker) sits calmly at 9. To be precise it vacillates between 8, 9, and 10. No pain, other than the few (or multiple) scar tissues that plague my body every once in a while – that I think must be cancer returning – but they aren’t – so far. You know what I mean? I am not working. I watch cooking shows. I cook. I clean. I do the regular things around the house. I lunch out with friends sometimes. I go to fitness. This is my holding pattern. Again, I thank God for that. The world seems to swirl around me like a frenzied whirling dervish: North Korea’s nuclear threats, Trump’s provocative and reactionary threats, hurricanes, earthquakes, famines, droughts… change, change, change.
I pause. Sometimes. When I pause I realize I have not slowed down from my pace to reflect. I have been swept up in the change of other events and have, consequently, changed. Nothing is the same. No one is the same. Nothing is “on hold”, in real time. Living in the moment is the only way I can find stability. There here and now is stable. No change. I pause. I breathe. I reflect. I write. By writing, I find stability. It grounds me. I can focus. I can organize and categorize. I create a memory that will not change. I cannot romanticize it, I cannot dramatatize it, I cannot let it fade. Writing freezes time.
Today, in this heat, I stay inside. It is too hot for me out there – I can’t breathe. Likely, this is a side-effect of my condition. That’s okay – because thank goodness I know I can turn on the air conditioner and be cool. No change there. I can drink plenty of water – cold -when I choose. No change there. I can count on my husband and my children to get the care, education, opportunities they need to thrive. No change. At least, for now. In this moment. And for that stability of things I am so very grateful.
So, my day moves forward, helping David with his homework, celebrating Katya’s new opportunity with a dinner, and touching base with Ben to hear his voice which reassures me he is happy. Together, Kevin and I hold down our wee fort called home. I stay in this moment until I am forced with the change that will inevitably come. “Don’t lose yourself in the future, Stacey”, I say to myself. “There is no point. You can’t count on things you cannot predict.”
And then I reflect on my father’s words of wisdom once again, and remember I can always count on change.
That’s for sure.