Change !

Throughout the last week, I have been hearing people talk about embracing change. It is as if everyone around me is trying to reinvent themselves or even the world at large for that matter. I guess the quest to seek something new has been the force that had fueled the growth of civilizations. In fact, the topic of change came up in four different speeches I heard in the last five days in Toastmasters.

As diverse as the topic of change is, the topic of change came in different forms from four different speakers. One speaker was talking about his decision to embrace change, to dance, quit smoking, and to live a healthier life. Another speaker was talking about the guests she receives in her home, and how her late grandmother was a guest from haven because she was so inviting to new culture. A third speaker was talking about the change that comes from within and how her father’s illness forced her to see the world differently and the fourth speaker was talking about the powerful force of change. Maybe, the world is asking us all to change. Maybe life throws us in situations where change is inevitable. I don’t know what it is, but change is definitely in the air.

After all, with Donald Trump in Office, change is happening all around us.  He wants to make America “great” again and he believes he will achieve that by changing the laws about who can or cannot enter the country. We just have to wait and see how his presidency will change the world. On a more regional level, socio-political unrest is the defining trait of the countries making up the MENA region. Therefore, change is erupting in nations all around us, be it economic change, political change, lifestyle change, or simply the change in people’s living conditions. Not all changes appear good as they happen, but all changes could be a prelude for more aware generations of citizens. After all, world leaders came to be from the ruins of hardship.

So I can’t help but wonder what it is that drives change, be it change in nations, change in regions, change in the world at large, or change in ourselves as people. Albert Einstein says “In midst of every crises lies opportunity” so maybe change is the result of our realization that our old ways won’t make us achieve new goals. Isn’t “crisis” another word for a change in the current conditions we have all become so used to?

On a more individual level, losing a job might be a reason for one to find new opportunities. An awful health hazard may force someone to live a healthier life. A heartbreak or personal disappointment in others may force one to find more useful pursuits, and these are all forms of change. They are all invitations to make changes in ourselves. Even on the creative side, it is often said that the most creative work comes from immense emotions that drive us to change. In this case change may force us into creative expression either through painting, writing, song, or even dance. After all, the best poetry was written by people who have felt real pain. The songs we identify with the most are those that put feelings of hurt, love, or hate in words we ourselves did not think to use.

So, no change is useless. Any situation that throws us off our life path must come with some hidden benefit. It may make us grow up. It make us more brave. It may make us more able to look challenge in the eye and say to it that we have dealt with worse. But, personally I believe that the best change is the change that also makes us more emphatic. It is the change that makes us more understanding towards others and more open to their side of a story.

In all cases, no matter how painful change is, it does come with a light at the end of the tunnel. We just have to be open to it and ready to embrace it. Maybe our world today is not in its best shape, but maybe it too is trying to feel its way towards a better future. Eventually, people will get tired of hardship and they will seek something new.

I guess change must be good in its own peculiar way, even if it doesn’t always appear to be. Otherwise why else would everyone be talking about it?

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