I have always been a person that notes change. Frankly I’m not sure if I love or hate the breaking of my habitual routine or of my consistent thoughts and judgements; nonetheless, it is still fascinating to me. Thoreau’s quote is like a remedy to my younger self’s question about how people gain or lose the qualities I had once known them for overtime.
To illustrate this point, in my fourth grade year I had met a girl who I despised greatly. She was blatantly rude to me—always when she was right in front of my face, which is something I should have admired of her at the very least—and insulted me whenever she had the chance. The clearest incident of this was in one of our first interactions where our English teacher at the time was handing back our quizzes. Upon realizing I got a hundred, I blurted the grade aloud, failing to contain myself. Her head whipped around and her eyes settled on me as a lioness does to a gazelle. I hear her voice for the first time (a quiet yet violent bite it had) and she snapped at me, “Everyone got a hundred, idiot.”
It was in that moment I realized I was going to have a truly ecstatic year with this girl.
We had more falling outs—fighting at recess, an incident with a donut and colonial clothing that is a bit too hazy for me to fully recollect—and small periods of time where we were actually something of friends. When we entered our fifth grade year, however, something had sparked a difference in our relationship. I chocked it up to the fact we had gotten used to each other’s idiosyncrasies and nothing more. In the summer before sixth grade, I moved into a different county. A year after I did, the girl did the same. After getting in contact with one another, we realized we wouldn’t actually see each other in school until our first year in high school. Yet it mattered not; we played soccer together in her neighborhood, went shopping together on the few weekends we weren’t busy, and explored the forests (the “forests” were most likely prohibited areas infested with tiny, venomous creatures, but that is neither here nor there.) It was a peaceful and wonderful time. One would have thought we had been friends since the start! However, these times slowly came to an end as we entered our eighth and especially ninth grade year. We were getting too busy to hang about and drink Starbucks whilst walking around Ross. There was always work to be done.
When the girl and I finally did have a class together, which was actually this very year, I noticed that hardly anything had changed between us despite not talking to one another for such a long stretch of time. We talk several times a week and attempt to organize social events during the weekend (even if they do often flop). The girl and I have a relationship completely opposite of what it was when we were in fourth grade.
So why—how?—did this new affiliation come about? As I stated before, I thought it was our dynamic as a whole that had evolved in order for us to form a strong bond. However, as Thoreau states, it was us, both her and myself, which had altered. Perhaps she had softened her harsh personality and grew to be less inclined to intense judgment. Maybe I had grown to be less obnoxious—and loud and overpowering and sensitive. Whatever created the change between us was something in our mentality.
Things—objects—in this universe are infinite. They are not the things that change so much as a desk sitting in a room would hardly change if one left it alone for years on end. No, these items do not change as we humans do. Our personalities, relationships, interactions, and beliefs are meant to be challenged and recreated nearly every single day. We are a species born to evolve in order to survive in this world. And evolve is precisely what she and I did.