I walked slowly across the front lawn of my parents’ home holding my wife’s hand. For an August afternoon, the temperature was a bit cooler than usual. Our kids, in age order (coincidentally), made their way into the house ahead of us. We paused for just a moment to contemplate that it wasn’t that long ago that we were sitting on that porch, before we were married, talking until late into the night.
It was just yesterday that I helped my oldest child learn to tie his shoes.
Except that yesterday was actually thirteen years ago.
Now my oldest child is approaching twenty years old and lives in Los Angeles, about 700 miles from home.
The next oldest is now a senior in high school. In about a year, she plans to go to Tennessee for school. Tennessee is a lot farther than Los Angeles.
It’s hard to watch your children move toward independence in an indifferent world where the talking heads will try hard to fashion a future for them.
The saying, “change is inevitable,” has been echoed so frequently that it’s become trite, tired, even something to gloss over, yet it’s perhaps one of the few, real universal truths.
If it were possible to somehow be aware of everything that’s changing in our own lives, we don’t possess the capacity to get our arms around all that change. As I age, the chemical processes in my own body are changing so rapidly that not even the fastest and most powerful computers of our day can keep up with them. That’s why the evolution of disease outpaces our ability to cure them.
Scale from just one person to societal level and the amount of change occurring all the time is incalculable.
Framing it that way makes change sound like something we should fear. That’s not the case at all.
How we differ from all other species on the planet is a conversation for biologists and philosophers of which I am neither. There are, however, two unique differentiators that I know that separate us from other species: we both choose to change and possess the capacity to adapt to rapid change, even when it’s incredibly rapid. (Yes, I know I’m generalizing here and that there are things against which humans are also not very good at rapid adaptation.)