As we sip our final drops of champagne while faithfully pledging our New Year’s Resolution, allow me to make some bold predictions on what lies ahead for you in the coming year. As I gaze into my crystal ball like a modern day Nostradamus, I see the following happening to you in 2020:
- You will part ways with a friend but make a new friend
- A family member will die but a new family member will be born
- A favorite destination (store, coffeehouse, restaurant) will close down but a new favorite destination will be discovered
- Someone in your social circle will leave your neighborhood but someone new will move into your neighborhood and join your social circle
- You will drop a hobby but discover a new hobby
- A friend will get divorced but some other friend will happily get married
- You will suffer from a minor health condition or injury but heal from a current minor health condition or injury
- You will break your resolution by Valentines Day
Besides my sarcastic last comment, I purposely started each prediction with the negative first to highlight the concept of Impermanence. Buddhism declares that in this world nothing is fixed and permanent; everything is subject to change and alteration, including the fabric of our lives. Change happens, and the sooner we can surrender to and embrace this reality, the better we can cope with the adversity we all inevitably face.
Another way to state this is the doctrine of temporary phenomenon. You are not the same person you were yesterday, nor will you be the same person tomorrow. We are what we are in the context of the time in which we exist. By understanding this, we can find a workable remedy to take comfort in the setbacks and sorrows of life. There will be ups and downs as we navigate through our existence. By becoming aware of this, to know and observe this with the proper perspective, we can empower ourselves to optimally deal with change.
To illustrate this, a real life example occurred to a dear friend of mine. She died at the ripe age of 84 after battling cancer for the past 18 months. Everyone was distraught and crying in bereavement to this tragic loss. Everyone, that is, except her. She had the wisdom to understand Impermanence and accept death will ultimately come to us all. So, instead, she embraced this change and celebrated her final days of a rich, full life. Change is a natural process of life that we must all accept and her shift in perspective gave her a different point of view as she gracefully endured her last days.
Try to enter 2020 thinking your life is like a river, each day of the year offering a progressive shift, a successive series of different changes joining together to give the outward impression of one continuous flow. The river of today will not be the same as the river of tomorrow: it will ebb and flow, moving from cause to cause, effect to effect, changing from one state of existence to another. How we successfully manage these currents in the river can greatly impact our quality of life. So be aware, observe, and accept the twists and turns your river of life will take you because the only thing constant in life is change. And with this understanding to embrace change, I wish you all a safe and Happy New Year!