Change is inevitable. Until it’s not. At the moment, there’s a progression of time where things are at a nice constant. But I’m afraid to even think this, as I know change is around the bend, in the backyard, up the hill, at the corner coffee shop.
Right now my work dynamic is ideal. It has not always been this way in jobs prior. I get along beautifully with my coworkers; I’m greeted with genuine cheerfulness every day I walk into the learning center’s glass doors. “Writing Island”, as I came to name it, is a space where our seasoned writing mentor, my aged experience, and the fresh innocence of a student worker meshes oddly organically in our oval area in the middle of the center, against the backdrop of exposed blinds and student activity. We muse over 80’s films, books we want to write, and regular students we’ve embraced in our daily, weekly, yearly tutoring sessions.
But at some point this dynamic will change. The student worker will move on to another university or opportunity. The mentor may eventually land the faculty role he wants. I may be then thrust into his position, mentoring a new set of coworkers.
I mentioned a coffee shop. There was this corner coffee shop I’d go to twice a week. Initially I went there out of convenience (I could bike there and it was also on my way to work). There I discovered the best peanut butter banana smoothie I’d ever had. Sometimes I’d grab and go. Other times I’d sip and stay, either sitting outside on a bench in the sun, or inside where regulars and staff chatted about music and school and word puzzles and eventually became like a communal family. My teenage son would sometimes meet me there for lunch after his classes. Then the owner decided to sell the shop, unfortunately to some idiots. Now the shop sits empty. The tables and kitchen appliances are still there, but the people aren’t. I’ve visited other smoothie/coffee shops. There are some tasty peanut butter banana smoothies out there and some friendly baristas, but they cannot compare. It is not the communal feel of my beloved corner store.
In my backyard there are all kinds of plants I’ve cultivated over the years, including the sturdy Queen palm, fragrant Cape jasmine, and hearty Asparagus fern. Through the wet and dry seasons and changing position of the sun, I’ve managed to keep them all alive. The metal patio table under the loquat tree has harbored its share of various friends and family and guests. Some will come back soon. Others maybe a year from now. A few, forever a memory.
I’ve always said I don’t particularly like change. It’s scary and it can come out of nowhere, like a job lay-off or the death of a loved one. It can also creep in slowly, like the phases of your child’s life, or the bearing of loquat fruit. It is inevitable. And at some point acceptance is our savior. Fighting is futile. Sometimes change just sucks. It’s unfair. But if we let it guide us to other experiences, learned lessons, new discoveries, then the scariness looses at least some of its grip on the constant of change.