I’ve been rereading Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler as the basis for a paper in one of my grad school classes. Back in October, I wrote a book review blog post, and here’s the link. I’m not the biggest fan of rereading books or even rewatching movies without a good chunk of time in between. And yet, I can blast a song on repeat for hours (much to my hubby’s chagrin). But man, I’ve gotten so much more out of this book on the second read. In fact, I think I need a third reading based on the forward titled Three Reads by N. K. Jemisin.
One of the thoughts I keep mulling over is the idea of change. To be fair, it’s one of the book’s main focuses, so it should be in my brain. Not only has the world changed over the past year, but my life changed a great deal over the past five years. Maybe it was the start of my 40s or the surgery that fixed my health issues, or the loss of some important people in my life. But change happened, and I embrace where I am now versus lamenting the 15 years I struggled with illness.
Many of my friends, as of late, seem to be going through the same thing. Maybe it’s a collective ennui from the current state of affairs or that we’ve all hit our mid-40s, or we’re grown somewhat tired of the routine/rut of life. For many of us, we’ve been working for so long time while trying to balance our worlds that haven’t taken a moment to stop and breathe. We could all use a moment to stop and breathe.
There’s something about the mid-40s when you realize that you’ve been working and doing and existing for so long, and yet the finish line of working, doing, existing seems so incredibly far away. But at the same time, the job you may have gone to school for is no longer a good fit. Or life shifts so quickly around you, and you feel you’ve lost your footing. But life is change. The trick is finding a way to embrace it.
My high school guidance counselor told me there was no job for me after taking all those aptitude tests and career questionnaires. I didn’t know what to make of that conversation. I went to a favorite teacher of mine, Ms. Brewer, a woman I’d known since I was a little kid. I told her I’d just found out I’d had no future. Ms. Brewer laughed, but in a friendly way, and said that the world just wasn’t ready for me yet. As people, we had no idea all of the possibilities and changes to come. That perhaps a regular job may not be my thing. Maybe I wasn’t an in-the-box kind of person. Ms. Brewer taught history but used to read stories I wrote and suggested I keep working on that and said the rest would figure itself out. The kind of thing adults seem to know, and kids don’t. She also told me the most interesting people she knew were still trying to figure out who they were in their 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s and that it was good to keep challenging myself and being open to change.
So here I stand with my arm open taking it in. Why cry over the way things used to be or choke on nostalgia? Octavia Bulter’s creation of Earthseeds in Parable of the Sower is about finding survival by facing and accepting reality today. By embracing change. I can dig that. I can’t go back and change things, but I can work with where I am now and keep my arms open and embrace what comes.