Two years ago, I had just arrived in the Northern Territory and Justin met me at the airport with a hand-picked bouquet of tropical flora. The air was thick with past and future rain, monsoonal rain, so very different from the cold wintry rain I'd just left behind in California.
One year ago, Justin and I were in New South Wales, enjoying our first (and only) holiday in Australia outside of the NT. We spent New Year's Eve with our friends Waz and Pas (whose lives have changed dramatically since then) visiting his parents' house.
The pace of change does not seem to be slowing down. When I named this blog "Change Junkies" I thought perhaps that it might seem silly after awhile because what were the chances that our lives would continue to change so much? Well, of course, the chances were good as long as we continued to embrace change with open arms. Do we seek it out or do we stumble into it? Are we simply running from boredom and predictability or moving toward our new true lives?
In January 1995, Justin and I moved in together, not sure at all of what changes lay ahead. Who could have predicted that in 12 years' time we'd be living in our 14th home together? That we'd have circled the globe more than once? That we'd be more deeply in love? That we'd be less, rather than more, sure of how best to use our talents in the world?
I don't know what the next year will bring, but I am sure there will be changes. Job changes? Likely for me. Housing changes? Always possible. City changes? I think we'll be here in this area at this time next year. Less easy to predict or even to recognize immediately are the internal changes. In what ways will each of us have changed in one year's time?
At my parents' house on Christmas Eve, I went into their basement study to look for a book. Browsing the bookshelves, I was struck by how many books I'd read and completely forgotten about. Whole series and genres with which I'd been obsessed at certain times suddenly came back to life. Since then I've been thinking of the ways in which my personality, values and views have been shaped by my reading.
I read a lot as a child. I checked out books from the library by the stack. I often read novels in a day or two, and I was never not reading something. When my library supply ran out before we could get back there, I'd head down to the basement study and pick something from my parents' shelves, usually something from my dad's 1950s science fiction collection. I just recently read some science fiction (Octavia Butler's Parable of the Sower) and was struck by the clunky heavy-handedness of the genre. Then I remembered that I'd lost interest in fantasy and science fiction in my late teens because the good guys and bad guys were too clear cut, the predictions about the future too obvious. I can't help but wonder, though, who would I be if I hadn't read so much of it?
It's impossible to know our possible selves. If this, if that. Are all our potential selves leading parallel lives in parallel universes? Or do we harbor our alternate selves within us? The selves that made better and worse choices than we did in this world, the selves that were fearless when we were fearful, the selves that were kind when we were selfish, as well as the selves that acted on every emotion when we acted with restraint and foresight. Who would we be without the knowledge of those other selves?
I wish a year of insight, laughter, stimulation and contentment to all of us. May suffering be lessened, may joy increase exponentially, and may love be the prevailing force in the world in 2007.
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