In Tokyo for four short days recently I noticed the shift from summer to autumn.
In the west, summer is a big thing. The Americans talk about the summer when things happened – the summer I fell in love, the summer I became an adult, the summer of this and that, the summer of discontent, anyone? Some even count their years in terms of summers passed as in “I’ve seen 60 summers already.”
I didn’t see seismic shifts when I was in Japan, however. Pardon the pun.
Indeed the transition from summer to autumn didn’t seem like such a big deal in Japan.
Sure, the change in seasons did not go unnoticed. The transition requires different kinds of activity. The climate is different; there are different seasonal food to enjoy; people dress differently and there’s also time to start preparing for the impending winter period. In any case, nature has marked this transition time with unique beauty – my meal onboard ANA flight was accompanied by a maple leaf. I thought that was a nice touch, and a nice reminder that once again, change is upon us.
Changing seasons can be a metaphor for life itself. Isn’t life filled with change and transitions? Some are natural processes of growing up and growing older. We welcome many changes with eager anticipation: new discoveries, new friends, etc but some changes are unwelcome intrusions: loss of relationships, work or financial setbacks, health problems. All are a part of our journey. How we respond can make all the difference.
We need change so that we won’t get stuck in the past. We may not welcome every transition in life, but we do have a choice in how we will respond. If we dwell on the past and keep on lamenting about what could have been, we rob ourselves of the present and deny ourselves of the future, a future whose destiny is now in our hands. Because your future is yours and yours alone, it’s a journey you must embark on. Sometimes the people around you don’t understand your journey; they don’t have to, it’s not for them.
So be strong and press on; the future is bright no matter what the season is!