…and continual change preceding death


I have morning despair a lot. This is when you wake up without bluebirds singing chirpily around your head, no sunbeam dancing on the floor ready to shine on you and no soundtrack like ‘oh what a beautiful morning I’ve got a beautiful feeling everything’s going my way’ or whatever.

On one such morning (okay, it was this morning) I asked Google (yep, yes I did – I asked Google) ‘What is the meaning of life?’ As I get older, I conclude that Google is as likely to have this answer as any other entity – as the stars, as the grass, as the moon, as the gurgle of a baby, the hug of someone you love or hot mozzarella dripping off a freshly baked pizza.

It gave me a nifty noun definition that culminated in the mighty tailwind of ‘…and continual change preceding death.’

I snapped my eyes open and jumped out of bed: yes, that’s it, I thought. That is what I’m struggling with all the time. It’s this business of continual change preceding death with no pause button indicated on the great manufacturer’s (aka the Wizard of Oz, or an amply bearded man with a generally benevolent disposition and foul temper, or a dancing twisted ladder of pure energy or – I don’t know) instructions.

So we must trot along, or be dragged along, or swim ahead, or grab on to something, or in our best moments, glide through with the awe-inspiring elegance of eagles, flying high and flapping our wings the least. When I think about how we are destined for continual change preceding death and that is life it becomes so obvious to me that my unhappiness at the moment is that I am simply refusing to believe it.

I won’t change, I won’t move, I won’t get older, things must stay the same, my babies must always say tut instead of put and lello or lero instead of yellow, I won’t let my hair go grey, I won’t dare cross – I am scared to cross – the vast land of middle-age because continual change preceding death is terrifying to me.

If I climb this mountain, what is on the other side, I’d like to know? If I start to embrace change instead of resisting it, what will happen?

What is this exquisite bittersweet time that we have been given here on earth? Why is such joy wrapped up in such merciless change? I circle back to: what is the point of it all?

I’d like to have the answer. I’d like to at least stop looking for the answer. I know, somehow, that the answer, as articulated through various poets and sages through time, is probably here, now and yet – there – it’s gone. Again.

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