A Brand New Year

Photo by Steve Halama on Unsplash

No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.
– Heraclitus of Ephesus

I am using a photograph that isn’t one of mine primarily because a) I hate having my photo taken; b) if I hadn’t minded having my photograph taken, this is pretty much what I would have looked like (with less clothing it was pretty hot out there today); c) it is a powerful image (so thank you to Steve Halama for capturing it).

I went for a walk today in a full-face gas mask in order to protect myself from the smoke that is particularly bad today. I had access to a full-face gas mask courtesy of a friend who lives in Hong Kong – due to the ongoing democracy protests, it is useful to have one on hand just in case you get caught in the crossfire or the aftermath of the potentially dangerous CS gas used by the Hong Kong police. I am very grateful that I don’t live in such a repressive society.

What was slightly strange was that no one was particularly bothered by seeing me in my mask, and there were quite a few other people out walking with less all-encompassing face masks. Sydney has begun to take the smoke in its stride. Unfortunately, if you are living in a place where there are bush fires raging around your property or community it is much harder to be so excepting. My heartfelt sympathies go out to everyone who has been touched by the devastating fires this season.

Change is not something that I have ever been particularly comfortable with. I grew up in a mentally, emotionally and physically unsafe environment where I longed for stability. In a landscape of shifting sands, solid rock always looks like the best prospect. Learning that Life is change has been an ongoing challenge for me, but it is one that I have finally been able to adapt to and become a lot more comfortable as a result.

We have decided upon a change in direction for the new project. We have chosen education on the “one where there was extensive knowledge, research, and precedent” grounds. I’m excited, “get ’em when they’re young!” Changing the attitude of an entire generation might be too ambitious an idea, but as my dearest ex-mother-in-law used to tell me “reach for the stars and you might just make the treetops.”

Change is not something that many people are comfortable with, particularly older people. Anyone under 40 is used to technology changing every couple or years as a new device, or version of a device is launched, with new features to be learned. The words of the futurist Alvin Toffler “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn” are coming to pass as human are becoming a race where these abilities are becoming paramount.

Yet there are those who would still hark back to a bygone era that will never again be repeated, as, in an election year in the United States of America the backward looking slogan of “Make America Great Again” once more rears its ugly head.

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