This morning I archived the Scrivener project for my 2017 blog posts. And thus begins a new year.
It’s a strange feeling to put away something I’d been working on just about every day for all of 2017. Two days ago it was where my blog posts were kept, and one of the most important files in my workflow. Now it’s the past, left to gather digital dust in storage.
The passage of time is like that, cherished possessions we carry with us through days, months, and years all hit the inevitable barrier which relegates them to the past, never more to be part of either our present and future. And these “possessions” aren’t all material objects. They include vocations, relationships, social groups, even beliefs 1. One day we all come to points where we have to decide if we want to hang on to the past or let go of some of our cherished possessions in order to move on different paths.
I’ve often heard this choice depicted as the decision to “Change, or remain the same.” I find that to be inaccurate. Whether we choose to hang on to our “possessions” or not, we will change. Nothing in life is stagnant, and the tighter we clasp on to the things which have passed an expiration date the more they will see decay. Relationships will grow toxic, objects break beyond repair, beliefs implode in on our personalities, jobs and clubs will bring neither joy nor a sense of accomplishment. The pursuit of stasis still brings change, but none of it is healthy.
Nor does letting go of cherished possessions mean no remnant of the past comes forward with us. Old cherished beliefs may be released, but faith can move forward 2. Old relationships may end but new ones may be formed, and even with the same people. My daughter is graduating high school this year. At eighteen she will be a legal adult, and when she turns her tassel she will have passed though one of the few remaining rites of passage our culture possesses. It would be wrong for me to retain a relationship between us which retains the benevolent tyranny of a parent over a young child 3. That old relationship has been passing for a number of years, and it will soon need to be buried forever. Instead, we’l have to re-negotiate what it means to be parent and adult child.
The same is true for any part of our lives. We may switch jobs, but the lessons and skills we’ve learned come forward with us. Out time in clubs and social activities may end, but friendships may continue. We’ll negotiate a new path, both internally and with others, about how we carry a legacy forward even as we release our “possessions.” This is the way of life itself, and it’s good.
Everything changes. The question is, “In our lives, do we wish to see the change brought by decay or the change brought by growth and movement?”
- Political, religious, and social. ↩
- And, nowadays, “faith” is a loose term. Many people think of it more in terms of politics, but use the term “loyalty” to describe it. ↩
- And, really, parenting a teen means learning how to release this relationship over a course of time. Don’t get me started on parents who never want never want their children to be told the tyrant’s “No.” It hurts my head. ↩