Jessica Sieff: Nothing ever changes. Until everything does

Published 1:52 pm Thursday, March 11, 2010

Jessica SieffSo there was a really big earthquake in Chile last weekend.

And not only was it, like, the umpteenth earthquake in the first two months of this year a year which – might I remind whoever is in charge – was supposed to be better than last year but it also just so happened to shorten the day.

It. Shortened. The. Day. It literally knocked the whole entirety of the earth off balance for a moment and erased time.

It says so on Wikipedia, therefore it must be true.

The earthquake erases time and shakes an entire planet that for the record, hangs in the middle of nothingness and I’ve got to say, I didn’t see enough concern about that.

We couldn’t give that little fact some attention? A proclamation? Maybe put together a little committee to you know, ensure our planet keeps floating as it has been since the beginning of the planet era?

We can stop all broadcasting for Tiger Woods. We can’t stretch a little time for the very existence of man?

Then there was another earthquake in Taiwan. Apparently Mother Nature and her tectonic plates were not satiated by the “Yes we can” election, nor a Republican in Ted Kennedy’s old office, nor quelled by Palin on Leno or Palin on Fox or the very existence of Lady Gaga and still felt the need to shake things up.

Meanwhile, here on the home turf, I live on the contrary.

Lately I’ve begun to believe I’ve perfected the art of standing still.

There is an art, a skill to observation and it is quite elusive to some, I’ve noticed.

In the stillness, I’ve had the benefit of watching the act of evolution in little moments. Unmoving, I have watched children grow from baby blankets to bottles and out of onesies and into their own limbs. From teddy bears and teething rings into T-ball and tackle football.

Some of the most searing memories are those in which I can remember standing so still I could hear my own heart beat, feel my eyes widen at the fireworks in the sky, as the snow balls whizzed past my face, while the people I love most laughed or cried.

There were the picnics and the parties. Watching friends grow into adults, build and break and build back up again. Be the girlfriend or boyfriend, become the bride to the groom.

Become the parent.

And when we look back at it all, it seemed at the time like nothing was changing. Like everything was just amazing and always going to stay the same. But slowly and not always visible to the naked eye, the plates of our own worlds are shifting beneath our feet.

Nothing ever changes. And then, all at once, in an instant – everything does.

Because we have to keep moving, keep evolving. Mess up, clean up, struggle, survive. And it can be really easy not to. Stillness is a contradiction in itself, it’s scary and comfortable all at the same time.

But here’s the thing about standing still … sometimes what you’re looking at is beautiful. Sometimes the view is so amazing, it would take the force of a hurricane to pull you away.

But while you’re standing there, watching everyone else move, watching them grow up, fall down and live out their stories, no matter how you try to reason it all away, to find the safety in the still, the one story you run the risk of missing out on, is your own.
So when you get home and the walls start to close in and you think you’re messing up at work or with the kids or the Mr. or the Mrs., keep moving. Squeeze on through.

When the only thing between you and the other side is the leap, get a running start. W
hen you’re scared of it all, take a deep breath – it’s just the ground beneath your feet, shaking you up a bit, letting you know everything is always changing.

I can’t promise it’ll turn out … but I can say, I’m going to try to do the same.
And let’s get those scientists on the whole planet getting knocked off balance thing.