With rare exceptions, life doesn’t change overnight.
Instead, change is a slow and steady process that occurs minute by minute and day by day. And because the changes occur so slowly, they go unnoticed until they are indisputable.
I spent decades earning the crow’s feet around my eyes and the laugh lines around my mouth, but until recently I didn’t notice them. Then one morning, they were simply there in the mirror, and I realized that I’m not the same person I was 20 or 30 years ago.
I’m not completely different. I’ve always talked too much, laughed too loud and expressed my feelings too quickly. But I am also more confident, less likely to waste my time on petty people and petty issues and more appreciative of all life has to offer.
Time changes everything, and we can either adapt or languish.
Last summer, the fields where I ride my bike were full of corn. This spring, they were full of hay. And now they are full of soybean.
But they, like people, still hold on to pieces of their past.
In one of the fields, brown stalks of corn shoot above the green plants. All of the stalks stand in a row with the exception of one obstinate single stalk. The corn isn’t healthy and, at a glance, has absolutely no purpose.
But it serves a purpose to me.
Every day as I ride by, I am reminded that the stalks are remains of a field that once grew strong and healthy corn: a field that was cultivated and served its purpose and now serves a different purpose. And the current field wouldn’t be the same if the corn hadn’t once been there.
That corn represents my past: the decisions I’ve made, the words I’ve spoken and the relationships I’ve had. The stalks are like my memories. They remind me that I am the person I am today only because of the person that I used to be.
The remains in the field hold no regrets. They simply hold the power to remind me to remain grounded and remember my roots while never failing to change and grow.
I think I’ll take that advice.