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Life’s Consistent Inconsistency

Change is the only constant in life,” is a quote attributed to the Greek philosopher Heraclitus. This saying has withstood relevance throughout time. Life is change. Think about your life and recall the changes you have withstood, the transformation you have fostered, and understand how these changes have shaped your experience. September is often a month of great transformation, both in the natural world and our personal lives. Whether you are watching the seasons change or (not) starting a new semester in school, September marks a turning period. We stand at the crossroads of change.To truly understand its nature, we must explore the human fear of change. Despite life’s consistent inconsistency, humans desire control. We wish to master the progression of life through planning and careful consideration of the next step. We plan the next four months of a semester or the next four years of a degree, only to watch those plans fall apart. When we forget to see beyond our need for control, change can be debilitatingly fearful. However, change is inevitable, bound to happen with time. No matter how diligent a plan or how studious a schedule, life will throw a curveball. Change is indeed a constant in life, but seldom an event in the Universe occurs in singularity or only once. Science exists only because of these patterns. Paleobiologists can use the behaviour of modern birds to predict the habits of long-extinct ancestors, the dinosaurs. Astrophysicists analyze changing light patterns to determine the chemical composition of celestial bodies thousands of lightyears away. When viewed separately, pieces of data are seemingly random and chaotic. Scientists are able to see beyond the perceived chaos of change and analyze the subtle-yet-real patterns in the Universe. We can do the same in our lives. Just like the seasons, personal change is most often cyclical. We revolve from frigid emotional winters to ecstatic subjective summers and back again. We navigate a constant cycle from one point to the next, feeling as though we are aimlessly spinning on the wheel of life. When considering a cyclical process, a bias could be that the cycles are always the same. This fallacy could not be further from reality: cycles are never the same. The wheel of life is not a closed loop but an upwards spiral. A vortex guided by a uniting direction but unfailingly pushing towards a new space. Indeed, seasons share characteristics, but one spring will never be exactly like the next. This summer might be bountiful with sunlight and hope, whereas previous summers filled with drought and wildfire. One September, you could be entering the first year of your university experience; and yet another, you could be counting down the days to your own graduation. See the patterns and cycles in your life, how they change, and see how, despite the parallels, you could never be the same. Transformation, change, cycles, metamorphosis, transfiguration, mutation. What do these words mean to you? By definition, they inherently mean the same thing; an opportunity for personal growth.

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