Thursday, June 15, 2006

Life changes

As indicated previously, I went out on Monday night. The occasion was a "friend" making their farewell to Nottingham. I say "friend" like that since we had started off on a very bad footing, but over the years each of us has learned - I think - to appreciate in the other certain qualities that may not have been obvious at first glance. Besides, sometimes you cannot beat a bit of barbed wit friendship.

Anyway, having seen this person completely change their life inside two months, it got me thinking about how and why our lives can change: why things happen the way that they do and whether there "is no fate but what we make". Because, let us be honest, how many times have we looked at events and thought, "well, that was just inevitable". I'm not saying that life is simplistically determined, and curve-balls get thrown all the time, but sometimes with a little hindsight the curve-ball seems much less unexpected than maybe was first thought. Like untangling time-travel and parallel worlds, do we know for certain that things wouldn't have been the same even if we had taken a different choice at a particular time? How do we know that taking the same decision in slightly different context wouldn't have led to a completely different conclusion?

Additionally, seeing how this person had completely uprooted their life so quickly made me also think about how we respond to change or the possibility of it. It's easy to sometimes let things slide, let them drift out of a lack of energy or will to make changes. We stick with the familiar because somehow it's easier than leaping into the unknown. We all need to have more hope that change can be good. If, like me, you get unnerved by the process of change, make it quick. Hesitation can kill as many good ideas as it does bad ones. But it is also worth considering how much you value your self alongside other people: without wishing to promote selfishness, is duty and obligation - however, well placed they may be, however deserving the subject - enough to compensate for misery and destructive resentment? Balancing care for yourself alongside care for others, gratitude and obligation is hard work, but running away from dealing with the implications of continuing with something based on negative and destructive feelings could be equally damaging.

Of course for some the choices - and I use that word with a heavy heart in the current political climate - are not straight-forward. Where do you live; what do you live on? These are questions that inhibit people's choices for changing their lives. Despite all the work that has been done by charities, the efforts of carers continues to go largely unrewarded and unnoticed. The hidden contributions of individuals to covering over the inadequacies of the health care system are immense. How do these people manage their lives, let alone change their lives? Similar problems arise for those dealing with domestic abuse: psychological and economic support needs to be in place to enable those caught in the destructiveness of domestic violence to either manage/change or escape the situation.

And what of those who are 'left behind' by life-changes? They too need support; they too are living through a 'life change', and it is often one that they did not actively choose (even if their inaction contributed to its inevitability). We could all do with being more self-aware and more other-aware, because otherwise we might not have our sunglasses to hand when the light changes, and the light can sure burn us to the core.

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