Change. Evolution. Growth. Are these things possible? Inevitable? Desirable? Are these things within our control? I'm sorry that I am calling these things "things," that I don't have a better or fancier word to throw at you. But who cares really? This is a blog, not a historical masterpiece. This is me, not a ideological heavyweight. Like Thoreau. And anyway, it seems Thoreau was absolutely fine with the word "things" anyway.
Yes, true. Thoreau said "Things do not change; we change." And if I were the dutiful student of life and quotes, I would go study the context in which he said this. But it is Sunday night and I am tired, so I won't. Criminal, I know. Call me presumptuous, call me pompous, but I will hazard a guess at what this wise man meant. (And no doubt get it wrong.) Maybe he meant that we should stop pointing out the flaws in the world, in our lives, in the people whom we surround ourselves with. We should stop wishing "things" (purposefully ambiguous in my estimation) would change. Rather, we must change who we are, and how we act, within the context of that world, that life, that group of people. Or maybe he meant that we cannot effect change in external things, but we can in fact institute change in ourselves.
Whether or not I have any clue what this quote means and I'm relatively confident I do not (sorry, Thoreau for the flippant hijack of your gem), I like it. And I buy it. We can spend our lives complaining about how miserable our jobs are, how disrespectful people are, how our homes are too small or too messy. There are infinite things out there that we might want to change. And it's far easier and far safer to point fingers and talk about changing other people and other things than changing ourselves. Ultimately, I think many of us look at other people and think they are who they are and will not change. And I think many of us look at ourselves this way too. That we're stuck with what we've got.
This wimpy embrace of the status quo in others and in self is as tragic as it is predictable. I think, or very much want to believe, that change is possible even if it's not easy or intuitive. And I am going to (try to) stop wasting time diagramming the world outside me and locating its endless imperfections. I am going to (try to) stop wishing that things would magically evolve to make my reality more of a utopia. I am going to (try to) be bold and look inward. I am going to try to change some things about myself and see what happens. I'm not sure what these "things" are yet. I haven't made a list. (I abhor lists.) But I have a hunch. And, for now, I will keep this evolutionary mission of mine sufficiently vague and tell you that I am going to change "things." But maybe, just maybe, I will have the courage to elaborate down the line. We'll see.
For now, I just want to thank Mr. Thoreau for his words. Words that fly gracefully over my Sunday night head. Words that are at once so simple they are profound and so profound they are simple.
Thoughts on change? What exactly do you think Thoreau meant? Are there things you would like to change about yourself?