Reincarnation

by Anand Patel


“I feel like this above all the others is the season of change. Sure spring comes with its leaves and flowers and what not and that's cute... but Autumn is all about change.  I remember being a kid and waking up on the first day of september (yeah... I know that's not actually the first day of fall but just go with me on this) and just being filled with dread. Way too many things were about to happen and change.  The long lazy days and ethereal nights were done and gone; reality had come crashing back as summer receded into the distance of memories past.  Autumn destroyed the oneiric ecstasy of july and replaced it with the dry harsh cold of september.  Classwork and assignments and projects filled the void of running barefoot in the grass and swinging on tree branches.  More than the work, I dreaded the change, the fact that I had to let something go and replace it with tedium.  Basically... I associated change with dread and fear and anxiety and misery since childhood.  But... does it need to be like that? I dunno.

 

 

I mean... Its not as if the concept of change comes at us like a curve ball. We're all pretty much aware, especially as adults, that things change all the time.  Hell... even as kids, we make the transition from elementary to middle to high school; our friend circles change and shift all the time; cool kids become lame, and the socially awkward quiet kid in the back suddenly becomes the most popular kid. So "change" shouldn't come as a surprise to us. At all. And yet when it does, we get flustered and worked up. We hesitate to make changes, making excuses as to why things need to stay the way they are. We fight hard to maintain the status quo in our lives all the while complaining about how boring, tedious, mundane our lives are; and that applies to me too! It isn’t as if I don’t pause when it comes time to change things up.  I’ll simultaneously want to spice things up and keep everything the same saying, “yeah… I’m not sure I’m ready for that yet…”  But life doesn’t really give a damn about whether or not you’re ready.  When it’s time, it’s time.  We get older; our childhood comes to an end; adolescence melts into adulthood; relatives and loved ones drift away or die and new family members and friends somehow make their ways into our lives.  We age; our bodies change; what we used to be able to do at 19, we can’t anymore at 30.  Hairlines recede and wrinkles begin to show exactly how “experienced” (which I’ve learned is just a nice way of saying old) we are.  

 

No one asks whether we want these changes. No one prepares us for these events.  We’re pushed to accept change… we constantly engage in redesigning, recreating, redefining ourselves.  We’re born and as we travel through time, we are reborn, time and again… as the circumstances of our lives change so do we.  Our environment affects our feeling of completeness or… on the other side, incompleteness.  And I think it’s because of  this feeling of incompleteness that we actively add and weed out different components of ourselves.  We adapt as times change.  We embody different ideals and principles. It’s almost like we’re driven by this crazy desire to reach some kind of stasis with ourselves, like we’re trying to match who we think we are (or who we’d like to think we are) with whom the world sees us as.

 

All the while, we’re fully aware of the fact that our lives are constantly subject to change and that too without any prior notice.  But… somehow we convince ourselves that once we reach some pre-set goal our life is going to be set. It’ll be smooth sailing from there; That life is just going to remain constant, consistent, changeless.  But once we realise that we’ve changed… someone points it out to us, or it just suddenly hits us, “shit… I’m not the same as I was before _____.” Once we realise that we’ve changed, we wonder how it was that we ever did or said or believed what we did.  We look back on ourselves, on the people we hung out with, the music we listened to, the things we did as though someone else did them… like, “that wasn’t me… that’s not the real me. THIS here, now, this person is the real me.”  Then the focus and emphasis is placed on moving forward: because at that point, that’s all that we CAN do.  We can’t go back and change the things we did or the words we said. We can’t take back what we’ve put out into the world.  That’s just going to be there. Forever. And this is when we’ll feel regret and sorrow… but they won’t change what’s already come to pass. The present and future is all we can think about, focus on, cherish, and hold on to. Rebirth is a fresh start. Reincarnation is hope.”

 

-The Hidden Grounds