Calendars fascinate and flummox me. When I try to convert from Julian to Gregorian, or vice versa, I get hopelessly lost. The same applies to time zones and that horror known as springing forward or falling back. Time, as something that is constantly moving, isn’t easy to grasp. I’m in charge of a scheduling activity at a local organization. (Whoever thought that was a good idea I’ll never know.) While trying to sketch out 2022, with fear and trembling, I noticed something for the first time. In a non-leap year the dates correspond to the same days of the week for January and October. This is also true for February, March, and November. And September and December. This would’ve been helpful to know, it seems, in the previous half-century of my life. There’s solidity underlying the flux.
It was really only in the 1890s that “eastern religions” were discovered by Americans. Our nation was so thoroughly biblicized that we had forgotten that there are other ways to view the world. The idea, prevalent in the sixties and seventies, that we can gain wisdom from exotic religions was probably misguided. After all, to truly understand them you need to have years of immersive experience in them. It also helps to be a true believer. Still, I find the conceptions of change from Buddhism and Taoism particularly helpful. Change is permanent. If we spend our lives fighting it we’ll be frustrated rather than enlightened. Of course, for those of us who are chronologically challenged this isn’t necessarily good news.
Employers are busy hiring change managers. These people work at a pretty theoretical level that doesn’t always address the desire for stability. Sometimes I want to say, “Hey, for the first two decades of my career change was slow, and now that I’m aging I’m being told to go faster.” I do try to keep up, but the automobile hadn’t been invented when my grandmother was born and we were walking on the moon before she died. Since the internet, however, things have speeded up even more as ideas are shared worldwide and we see new ways of looking at things. We may desire stability, but change is indeed permanent. The pandemic has changed much, and things aren’t going to go back to the way they were. I look to the notebook in front of me. I probably would never have noticed the correspondence of January and October if I hadn’t been writing the dates out on old-fashioned paper.