Jan 28, 2024— “People love stories of turning points, wake-up calls, sudden conversions, breakthroughs, the stuff about changes that happen in a flash,” points out historian Rebecca Solnit. Yet, meaningful transformations often take time. “You want tomorrow to be different than today, and it may seem the same, or worse, but next year will be different than this one, because those tiny increments added up. The tree today looks a lot like the tree yesterday, and so does the baby. A lot of change is undramatic growth, transformation, or decay, or rather its timescale means the drama might not be perceptible to the impatient. And we are impatient creatures, impatient for the future to arrive and prone to forgetting the past in our urgency to have it all now, and sometimes too impatient to learn the stories of how what is best in our era was made by long, slow campaigns of change. Martin Luther King Jr. famously said that ‘the arc of history is long but it bends toward justice,’ but whichever way it bends you have to be able to see the arc (and I’m pretty sure by arc he meant a gradual curve, not an acute angle as if history suddenly took a sharp left). Sometimes seeing it is sudden, because change has been going on all along but you finally recognize it.” (1652 reads)
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Take ActionReflect on how you have changed over each decade in your life. Then, think of something you are impatient to change and ask yourself what’s one incremental shift you could focus on.