How do you feel when you see signs of the world changing from the one you you grew up in, the world you might have thought would be around forever?
If there is one thing in this world that you can guarantee will never change, it is the simple fact that everything will change.
Nothing that came before you was eternal. Nothing that comes after you will be eternal. It stands to reason, then, that the world you think you know in this moment is not eternal.
Life’s relentless forward motion all but guarantees that the world around you will not be the same tomorrow as it appears to you today.
Change isn’t something that only happens to other people. If you are lucky enough to live long enough, there will come a point when the world’s constant change suddenly seems to be getting closer to home. There will come a point when you realise that the world is starting to move on from what might have seemed the eternal certainties of the world in which you grew up.
How do you feel when you see signs that the world has changed and moved on the world you might have thought would be around forever?
In the present moving forwards
I came across an example of just such a situation in a recent episode of filmmaker Josh Stone’s New York Hardcore Chronicles podcast.* Josh Stone recounts with bemusement a recent dinner with his father (who also made films) and two younger filmmakers. With so many filmmakers present, talk turned to film. Josh says:
“My dad starts talking about The Godfather, which is cinematically a groundbreaking film. And they have no idea what he is talking about. NONE.”
Josh’s father reeled off some more cinematic classics from his youth that he thought indisputable and universal. Each of these drew a similar blank with the two young filmmakers. Josh continues:
“Upon further discussion, my dad came to the self-realisation that when he was coming up, he didn’t watch silent films and stuff like that, to get the history. He was in the present moving forwards. Sure, some people go back and study the roots of all this stuff. But for the most part, young people are in the present moving forwards.”
I love the acceptance shown by Josh’s father here. Don’t get me wrong, though – everyone should see The Godfather at least once in their life. But there is no shame in not having seen it (or not having yet seen it).
There is no reason why younger generations should have the exact same experiences or aesthetics as you. A life well lived might be one of endless discovery, of joy in finding and learning to appreciate new things, of creating a worldview that is uniquely yours.
Moving always towards the sun
There is no wrong or right way to perceive or experience life. There is no right or wrong way to process the change that is an inevitable part of life.
To me, the idea of finding oneself always in the present moving forwards is appealing.
Over time, the moments making up life’s perpetual present will accumulate into a rich and varied past. You can be at peace with or appreciative of your past while being always in the present moving forwards. Moving always towards the sun, towards the light.
Life happens in the moment. Life is forever fresh. Life is always capable of stopping you in your tracks. Life is forever changing.
You have a choice to embrace change or to reject it. But opting to reject change won’t stop change happening. I’ve always liked filmmaker Danny Boyle’s words about change:**
“You’ve got to go with it. And if you become unable to deal with it, that’s fine. Because it means your time is finished and it’s time for other people to take it on.”
May you be nothing but kind today, to others and to yourself.
May today be nothing but kind to you and yours.
* Here is the relevant episode of the New York Hardcore Chronicles podcast, in its YouTube guise.
** Boyle is here talking about the evolution from traditional to digital filmmaking that he’s seen during his career. This quotation comes from such an unlikely source. Gentle reader, did you know that Keanu Reeves not only made a documentary, but that it is also pretty good? The documentary is entitled Side By Side, and is well worth a watch.
- The dinosaur book – the ruling reptiles and their relatives (1945) (20334100864) via Wikimedia Commons.
- Deep red chrysanthemum up close (Unsplash) via Wikimedia Commons.
- Chrysanthemum – panoramio (1855) via Wikimedia Commons.
Oh i so agree Michael.
I find it very frustrating when people of my generation (and I’m not *that* old!) bang on endlessly about how everything was better years ago. It wasn’t. I think a lot of this is based on fear, but really there is nothing to be afraid of. We need to try to look at young people’s views as objectively as possible.
I find this changing world endlessly fascinating. My (adult) children also keep me aware of new ideas and approaches to life.
One of my favourite quotes is from Armistead Maupin:
‘You don’t have to keep up, but you do have to keep open.’
I’d like to have this framed on my wall or even tattooed on my arm.
Thank you for another interesting post.
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