If you’re a product of the great American school system, at some point in your academic career, you most likely read the F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel The Great Gatsby or maybe watched movie or maybe skimmed the Cliffsnotes or maybe slipped the smart kid a 5 spot to give you a quick summary before class.
What makes Jay Gatsby such an enduring, relatable character is that we often share the same foolishness and fears as the King of West Egg Long Island. Gatsby was afraid of change. He tragically attempted to stop the gallops of time and in doing so sacrificed his coolness, his self-control, and in short (spoiler alert!) ends up dead in swimming pool.
Dealing with change is not easy. But change, has been the one constant in our lives that we have always relied on.
When I was first diagnosed with cerebellar degeneration, I was most frightened by the mental and physical changes that I would endure. I was scared of giving up a life that I had become so comfortable with.
My diagnosis has taught me that when it comes to change we are often our own worst enemy. We lose sleep, gain weight, gnaw our nails down to bone worrying over the prospect of change. And as Fitzgerald eloquently penned in the novel’s final line, “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
Yes, we are creatures of habit but we’ve been dealing with change our whole lives. With each passing day we evolve (or devolve) into a slightly different person. Some days are marked by titanic changes. Other changes are small. But the fact is everyday we change. And I would wager you that 5 spot (if you still have it, if you hadn’t already paid the smart kid for that summary) that you– for better or worse– are not the same person you were this time last year, last month, yesterday.
If you’re resistant to change, I challenge you to rethink your attitude toward change. I did. My illness is the soul reason why this website exists.
“Behave like the person you want to become.”- Amy Moran 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do
If you recognize change as the catalyst for growth– you will grow. Change, in both large and small quantities, will teach you more about yourself then complacency ever will.
Jay Gatsby’s tragic flaw is that he never accepts the fleeting nature of time. Don’t be like Gatsby. Let change be a vehicle for growth. Railing against change will demoralize you, will extinguish your spirit.
However, if you choose not to accept change, I suggest staying away from swimming pools.
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Also checkout my article, “How Sarcoidosis Inspires Me to Be Creative Everyday”. An article that was originally published on themighty.com.