This post originally appeared here in Journal of Journeys.

The Greatest Adventure Of Your Life Awaits In The Midst Of The Unknown

"You’ve changed. I don’t know you anymore.”

These words echoed inside my head the whole day. It came across cold and hard. I don’t think I’m comfortable with the accusatory tone.

I’ve changed?

What was that supposed to mean? Don’t we all?

It’s an uncomfortable realization that some part of me is no longer the same. But this is exactly what we all have signed up for. It’s the one truth we can count on about being human, and that is life changes people.

I’m not too sure that the things I once dreamed of in the past are going to sound as exciting in my future. I’m not even worried about my promises to stay true to my former self, or what others might talk when they notice I’m different now.

It’s not an easy acceptance, somewhat confusing for my mind to process.

I guess this is the root of some of our suffering. We all had unconsciously expected everything to remain the same. Some part of us frantically hangs on to what we count as permanent. Everyone loves the familiar because it taps into our deep-seated need for security. But life is always on the move and things never remain the same.

We had the mistaken assumption that one day, many moons from now when we finally have it all together, we would reach the point where we can take it easy, settle down and watch life go by.

Time changes everything except something within us which is always surprised by change.

— Thomas Hardy


Photo by Emiliano Arano from Pexels

We thought we knew the world, at least our world, well enough that we can remain consistent, and stay the course no matter where it leads us. We were simply assured that one day we will arrive on the other side, fulfilled and satisfied.

Technically we were not wrong. It’s just that we dreamed as who we were then, being young and naïve. We were too inexperienced to accept that nothing in life is ever permanent. No matter how much we’ve learned, we don’t really know anything at all.

If you think you know your partner who has been around almost forever, you’re in the grip of delusion. You won’t know his history, not in its full complexity. You won’t know for sure how he is in his emotional world, his hopes and aspirations, his musings of fears and joy. How could you possibly know everything that’s going on inside his head?

You probably thought you know your kids, but that knowledge is just an imagined construction. You may sometimes make good guesses and have a pretty good idea about certain things yesterday. You have no idea of what they will become tomorrow, or even later today. They are constantly changing and have been since the day they were born, and will continue to be so every day. One day you won’t even recognize that little bundle of joy that used to fit in your arms.

Perhaps it’s this mystery that scares us into our imaginary world, finding solace away from the harsh reality of life.

Without accepting the fact that everything changes, we cannot find perfect composure. But unfortunately, although it is true, it is difficult for us to accept it. Because we cannot accept the truth of transience, we suffer.

— Shunryu Suzuki


Photo by Emiliano Arano from Pexels

What’s familiar is always comforting. We fight against change even if we know it’s good for us. Until the time comes when the truth stares back at us, we realize we could no longer be the same person. The time has come to decide either one of two options: to switch path and tread new landscapes, or remain the same and be miserable.

Things, people, places that you could swear have never changed and never will, have changed. Nothing is the same.

The same can be said about you. You cannot deny it.

The dreams and plans you had were constructed for the person you were before. It’s no longer suitable for who you will become. You can’t know for sure in what ways you’ve outgrown your current life. What you do know is somehow you don’t feel like the same person that’s going to the same job, fulfilling the same task, and living the same life.

Over the course of many days and even years, the life you had once dreamed of turned into an unfamiliar image, a dim memory that stood at the back of your mind.

You refuse to let go because it’s scary to walk into an utterly unfamiliar future. Yet you can’t ignore the whispers and nudges in your soul that assures you this is the right way to go. You were fooled into believing that all your hopes and security were tied to a dream which now seems distant and foreign.

Photo by Andrea Durey from Pexels

The evidence is, yes you’ve changed. Even the people around you had begun to notice. That’s when you try to grip a little harder instead of letting go, resisting instead of allowing.

Change isn’t necessarily bad, because change indicates growth. We’re constantly in the process of growing and evolving. The way towards acceptance is curiosity and courage to explore the deep.

Maybe it’s time to let go and free yourself from the chains that are no longer serving you. Be willing to venture into the hidden side of you. You don’t know every part of yourself, and you haven’t unearthed every deep desire. You may think you do but as time unfolds, it becomes increasingly clear that there’s more to you and more to life than the one you knew. The past now feels like a piece of heavy baggage begging to be released. The lure of the unknown brings a sudden frisson of fear.

How do you want your “new” day to look like from today onwards? Granted, it would be quite different from the one you’ve adopted, nonetheless far more fulfilled in your heart. You’re pursuing a dream for the person you are right now. Chances are, you will change your course down the road and adjust your sails to the future person you will one day become. You’re not the same.

You’ve changed.

And that’s a good thing.

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