Recently I had a revelation. First you should know that I’m not living in the heart of Hamburg but outside of the city in a municipality already belonging to Schleswig-Holstein. And ever since I was born, I’ve been living in these places that are too big to be called a village, yet too small to be called a city. But in the last three years that I’ve been living in this place I feel that so much has changed. In particular there’s this one shopping centre a few hundred metres away from where I live and that I pass by almost every day and for the past three years it’s been under construction, expanded, renewed, you name it.
And on a sunny Tuesday afternoon when I walked past yet another construction sign it dawned on me: We are all constantly changing. We never really settle down. We never really just stop evolving but change forever. And ever. So what about me?
After having had this prolonged revelation I realised I was about to miss my train so I delayed the conversation with my self to a later point, that is now.
There’s this misconception that at a certain point of your life you have got it all figured out: you know what you want to do for a living, how to file a tax report, you know what and who you like, you know who you are. So once you have an idea of yourself, is that it? Do people expect one to stick to this inner mind set for the rest of their lives? Obviously not. People change. For the worse or for the better. Just like our body is changing throughout our time on earth so are our interests, ideas, tastes and self.
Just look around you and you’ll see everything is always on the verge of change. The entire biosphere is constantly taking turns and making changes. We always talk about being the ‘winter’- or the ‘summer’-type, but in its essence aren’t we all a mixture of all the seasons? Because just like the Earth we change throughout the year, and throughout our lives.
You realise what and whom you need in your life; what you like and loathe; whom you want to keep in your life and whom you need to let go of; you find new passions and get bored of them again; you meet new people and you lose people. Just like the seasons come and go, so do interests and people enter and leave your life again.
I realised that just like the shopping mall my life is indefinitely under construction but unlike the shopping mall I don’t know what the results are going to look like. But maybe the fact that I’ve always been living in these undefinable places – too small yet too big – maybe that’s why it was so difficult for me to define who I really was until it hit me that sunny Tuesday afternoon: I’m undefinable.
And I believe in its essence everyone is undefinable. There’s always this set of character traits that’s pretty obvious but then there are the hidden layers of features and talents and fears you don’t perceive so quickly, and once you may have had a quick peek at them they are being interchanged by another characteristic. Because we all constantly change. Because we all go through situations and times in our lives that force us to change our perceptions of life and ourselves, force us to find new ways to cope with life, and in the process we change. Every day. Every minute. Every second.
There is no use in trying to define someone else because just as you constantly change so do others.
This goes hand in hand with my article on expectations – they are for naught and we should get rid of them. People, human beings, are not finished products once they hit a certain age, they will change for the rest of their lives, they will never be finished and ready to be wrapped up and send out into the world. But us perfectly unfinished goods are what makes this planet.
So stop putting people into categories but instead take them for who they are as of right now and watch them blossom just like the flowers in Spring, shine like the sun in Summer, change colours like Autumn leaves and find clarity like Winter reveals what’s under the Earth’s surface another year. Get rid of the drawers and maybe while watching others, you’ll perceive yourself changing as well. Because you invite people into your life that may or may not have the potential to have an impact on you. Sometimes we get so caught up in life that we don’t take the time and reflect on ourselves and see how far we’ve got and how much we’ve changed, how many different versions of ‘Me’ we portrayed so far.
I walk through the streets and no longer think about defining the place and I no longer wonder about if the constructions will ever be finished because in its essence the place where I live is just like me, like everyone and everything else: undefinable and infinitely changing.
Maria was listening to ‘Silver Coin’ by Angus & Julia Stone while writing this article.