Witness Change

When we are too close to change we rarely truly witness it. When we are around change, do we really see it, do we acknowledge it?

During my recent brain reading obsessions, a couple of books and a couple of dozen articles, I learned a theory about memory. I am no brain surgeon and even those dudes are still to some point guessing. It is believed that we don’t actually store memories like a picture does, but that every time we recall it, we then store our memory or recollection. This theory is used to explain how eye witness account can be tempered with or very inaccurate from the story being retold over and over. That memory can get pretty murky after a while and being chased by the neighborhood chihuahua can turn into being chased by a pack of wolves.

Recently I am also fascinated by how some people have “changed” and some have pretty much stayed the same after six years of being away from this area. I do consider the possibility that maybe I did not know some of them as well as I knew the ones that I see no change on. I am interested by this idea that people can change, and it seems like one of those forks on the road that you kind of have to pick one side or the other. You either believe people are capable of changing and the ones that don’t simply chose not to, or you believe people just can’t change and they are who they are.

One of the situations I am observing in one of my groups of friends has changed so much that I think its already fragmented beyond repair. Little clusters still hang out, but the group dynamics changed quite a bit due to one of the people just having a thirst for trouble. What is even more interested is that a similar situation with another group of friends was the complete opposite. The trouble maker is not a part of the group anymore and the group is as strong in bonds as it was before. I guess the one bad apple thing might have some truth to it.

Both situations can be seen from a different perspective and one group as the one that did not give up on the troublemaker and the other one that did give up on their “friend.”

When my family moved to the U.S. my Dad left all of his immediate family besides his wife and kids behind. He left a huge void there because he was involved in a lot of decision making and just keeping the overall family structure going. Some of the things that happen after we left might not have happen if he was there. Was he selfish because he wanted his kids to have more opportunities in life by moving to where his wife’s family was at? I will never know if the situations that have unfolded since then would have been the same or not without his presence.

The choice of leaving Chicago six years ago had a lot to do with personal reasons. I thought back then that a change of scenery was just what I needed. The jury is still out on that being the right decision and the “no regret” part of me tells me that it lead me to eventually move to KC and finding my wife. It is still hard to know that when my Mom did get really sick last year I was not around and not having enough vacation made it hard for me to get away. This time the reason to move was to be closer to family, sure the job offered help but I’ve hand plenty of those before.

I am not sure if people change or not. I personally think that we are all capable of self improvement, but there are core things about who we are that cannot be changed. They are part of our nature. I do want to be smarter about witnessing change on people and relationships and learning how to learn from it. I also wish that I could be in several places at once. I would love to be able to celebrate Daniel’s birthday with him today, even though I have learned through our relationship that we can be witnesses to change and part of someone’s life even though we are not physically there.

Still the question remains, do we really witness change?

2 Responses to Witness Change

  1. Change is like a frog sitting in a pot of boiling water. Typically we only find out about change when its too late. Case in point, people didn’t wake up from the middle ages and realize that they were suddenly in the Renaissance. We only see that change is happening when we are able to notice the breakdowns in our own life (i.e. when old ways of doing things no longer produce the same results).

    The context of who we are changes from minute to minute. The universe moves around us without any concern for who we are or what is important to us. Because of that, our world changes constantly and its almost completely imperceptible.

    This is only a problem for those who try to work against reality and refuse to accept it as a space of possibility for taking care of their needs/wants/desires.

  2. Often, events are a catalyst for change — good or bad — in people.

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