Monday, July 6, 2009


"The more things change, the more they stay the same. I'm not sure who the first person was who said that. Probably Shakespeare, or maybe Sting. But at the moment, it's the sentence that best explains my tragic flaw: my inability to change.
I don't think I'm alone in this. The more I get to know other people, the more I realize it's kind of everyone's flaw. Staying exactly the same for as long as possible, standing perfectly still. It feels better somehow. And if you are suffering, at least the pain is familiar. Because if you took that leap of faith, went outside the box, did something unexpected...who knows what other pain might be waiting out there? Chances are it could be even worse. So you maintain the status quo, choose the road already traveled, and it doesn't seem that bad, not as far as flaws go. You're not a drug addict, you're not killing anyone... Except maybe yourself a little.
When we finally do change, I don't think it happens like an earthquake or an explosion, where all of a sudden we're like this different person. I think it's smaller than that. The kind of thing most people wouldn't even notice unless they looked really, really close. Which, thank God, they never do. But you notice it. Inside you, that change feels like a world of difference, and you hope that it is... That this is the person you get to be forever. That you'll never have to change again."
(Everwood, season 2, episode 4, "East Meets West")

Saying that changes are never welcome is not entirely true. Some people go as far as actually seeking it. But I firmly believe that change-seeking people are not that common - in fact, they're extremely rare merchandise. They're rare because/therefore they're not sought after. Change-seeking people do not fit into this world, do not correspond to our idea of security. But isn't changing one of the things life's all about?
How many times does one stand at the fork in the road and, for much of Robert Frost's disappointment, ends up taking the road most traveled by? We tend to take the road that leads to a destination known beforehand. It might not be the most exciting or the shortest way - but it's always better than the very much feared Unknown.
The French have a perfect expression for what I'm about to say. I'll share with u a "secret de Polichinelle" - an open secret, that is, a secret known to be true by anyone, but never openly admitted to be. So, what I want to mention is that this road, the one widely prefered, has a name. It's called Mediocrity. Like I said: who doesn't know that? But the real thing here is that not many will actually go through the trouble of saying it, let alone endorsing it.
Mediocrity Road goes smoothly. It's often either sunny or cloudy - and when it does rain, those on it worry not, for they know what always comes after the storm. There are not many holes or anything - it's really well-kept - nor cliffs of any sort. It's also well signalized, with the traffic lights always working like a Swiss clock. And it's never a deserted place, u'r never alone there. Wow. When I put it like that, it does sound like a cool place! Who wouldn't wanna go down this civilized Roman road?
Whereas the Non-Ordinary Road is really not that cracked up to be, is it? I mean, the weather's unpredictable, there are no traffic lights - u never know when to cross the street -, it's full of holes and stones on ur way, making u trip incessantly. And u may not encounter anybody else for a long time; it's really, really lonely down there. Yeah, come to think about it, who'd ever choose it? Too much work; besides, u've no idea where it leads to.
But then... see, the thing with the unpredictable is that (sometimes) it grants u delights beyond ur imagination. It's not to be counted on, mind, but when it happens... not many people have the pleasure, I'll tell u that.
U'r there. It's been raining for quite a while, with nowhere to shelter u. A fast car passed u by, and not only did it ruthlessly ignore ur thumb raised in that universal gesture of need, but also splashed mud on ya. U'r soaked to the bones, and sulking about it - cus, let's face it, u'r not a good sport. But then, all of a sudden, the sun comes out. It's warm once again; but u, still cranky, think to urself "great, now the mud will definitely never go away...". And the gods, seeming to have taken a liking to u, decide that by the side of the road there'll be a river with a waterfall, surrounded by a whole bunch of natural beauties. Leading to it, there's a yellow leaf-covered path. Talk about getting a break, uh? U still have no idea where u'll end up after that - maybe there's another downpour comin' to let ur spirits back down. But who cares? U've just had a delightful afternoon.
Another "secret de Polichinelle": neither road takes u anywhere. Only, Mediocrity gives u the impression of doing so - it makes u think that Safety awaits u at the end of it. Wake up and smell the roses: it does not. Mediocrity's a hypocrite bastard, really, luring us with empty promises. And trust me on this one: sooner or later, it becomes a maze, and u find urself utterly lost. At least, Non-Ordinary's honest; it goes like "look, I've no idea where I'm taking u, and I do suck every now and then. But I may also surprise u from time to time. Take it or leave it".
At the end of the day, both roads are not that different. It doesn't matter which one u choose - what matters is what u believe in. If u believe u'r headed towards Safety, then every road will be Mediocrity for u. But upon realizing there's no final destination, anywhere's Extraordinary. And for that, u gotta take some road - any road. Gotta keep ur swagger, keep on diving, dancing and taking nothing for granted.

"Our destinies sweep us along. We're just here for the ride. Fate takes what she wants from us and there's nothing we can do about it."
(Everwood, season 1, episode 11, "A Thanksgiving Tale")


Iris H. said...

I don't know why but your piece reminded me of an epiphany I had a while back which became a post... About change in a way but also personal velocity (a movie recommendation, btw)

RONNY DIAS said...

Finally got 2 read this one and, I must admit, I totally take back whatever I said and even regret not having read it earlier!


PS: Good to know I'm kinda rare, since Changing has always been my motto! By the way, :D