on change and reality

Getting used to changes, I find more and more, is like climbing over the threshold of friction and then keep moving; the effort required to make change happen, to overcome the urge of wanting everything to stay the same, is the force required to make an inert object start moving and once overcome, once the new motion has started, the effort required to sustain it is not so great any more. In time it sometimes even approaches zero – when floating on top of an almost frictionless pillow of air, a new normal is here; the change is incorporated in every day life.

This is how I feel abut getting used to small changes, where the height of the threshold only is that of an easily climbed hill, like doing daily exercises to keep my back pain in check or smoothening one by one between my fingers all the little cotton ribbons on our babies newly washed wet clothes. This holds even true for those happy little changes in life, like switching to a much more useful kitchen dish rack, where the threshold from the outside might sometimes seem unexistant, nothing more than a bump in a widening road, but when looking closely the hint of the complacent part of myself wanting to avoid change at any cost can clearly be discerned – the rack does requires different organizing of the dishes. Getting used to these kind of small changes are, I suppose, nothing more than the process of creating new habits that become part of life and that we no longer think about, the new way replacing the old; replacing it while often making us forget what the old way actually was like.

Since meeting my wife however, I have come to find that the process of getting accustomed to big changes in life is also following the same pattern as the process of creating new habits, though on a completely different scale. Just like meeting my wife made all of my old life unrecognizable to me (old story here), having a baby has brought the same if not even greater transformation into my life. The initial event, the big overwhelming life altering upside down putting change that our baby’s come-to-existence inherently brought to our family has, while we daily continue to look at each other in disbelief over the magical existence of our son, at the same time now become not only the new normal but the only normal that ever seems to have existed – looking back, I can hardly remember nor imagine what life was like before or baby. After two months together, our little three people family’s life is now moving quietly forward (with the occasional hiccups of course), and looking back at where we came from, all I can see is the high mountain that gave us the initial speed to put our new life in motion.

The path we climbed is soon no longer to be remembered and if I did not know that we must have climbed this mountain together I would have thought that our journey to get here had all been a dream. That momentous task of overcoming the impulse to flee when nothing in life is recognizable any more, to seek out the safe corner of the past where life was known and at least somewhat predictable however troublesome, is now covered with clouds laying like a lid on the top of a volcano. And the further away we travel, the more the world behind us seems like a dusty tale of a forgotten kingdom in a book with a frayed cover and torn pages. Was it real? Did it happen? Was there ever a time when there was just the two of us, let alone a time where then was not even a marriage?

Making my frictional reasoning a little bit less figurative, the only way I can describe this experience is by calling it a fundamental transformation that seems to have put the laws of physics aside, the laws of time and of cause and effect, leaving me with just the one law of friction to govern our universe. Without that friction we would no longer be here, instead we would be traveling at the speed of light through the portal of consciousness, the memories of the past never reaching us and the present only existing as an unrecognizable construct of thought. Was it not for friction, the transformation would never have taken place; was it not for friction this new world would not even seem real.

Also, however strange it might feel – even the kind of friction arising between me and my wife late at night in our dark room when we, both tired beyond words, try to quietly communicate while nursing our baby, is the creator of reality. It is what holds us together, creating the warm feeling of love that makes us want to be even closer together, makes us appreciate what really is important; what constitutes life.

And just as I have laid out my argument, I will finish by questioning my reasoning. Sometimes when our baby looks at me I wonder if friction really exists at all, if the laws of physics are all just a construct of fiction, an excuse, a means to make reality feel real, when in reality all that is real in this world, all that exists, is a smile of a baby.

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