The Duality of Changing
Times Change, and We Change

The following picture is of me. I once was young but not anymore. There are some benefits to growing old. I have learned about how to live life. One of the insights I have acquired during my aging process is based on this Latin adage, Tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis. Over the centuries, that adage has had various themes and variations.

Tempora Mutantur

The Latin translation is “Times are changed; we, too, are changed within them.” Case in point. Two years ago, during winter break, my family and I toured parts of Myanmar. To say that it was the trip of my life doesn’t come close to how I felt. If you added up all the time I have been overseas, it would total more than two years of traveling, teaching, and attending grad school. However, my last visit with my family was the single best journey of my lifetime.

Even before I returned to the States, we were planning our second family tour. We would travel to Yangon, then to the Golden Rock, old Moulmein Pagoda, Myeik, and the rest of the Mergui Archipelago. Two years after our second tour, I would return for Ti Ti’s graduation from college. Do you get the picture?

Our first family tour would be surpassed by our second family tour, and Ti Ti’s graduation would be better than the previous two trips together. That was the future of our family rendezvouses over the new handful of years.

However, less than a month after I returned to the States, the coronavirus toured the world. A year later, the military staged a coup on February 1, 2021. In a recent email from Moh Moh, she mentioned this would be the beginning of the tourist season but not this year. Moh Moh and Ko Ko are both tour guides, but the coronavirus and the coup have changed life in Myanmar

Two years ago, as I left my family, we had wondrous dreams and plans, but they were dashed. Enter the Latin adage, “Times are changed; we, too, are changed within them.” Either we can sit and pout, or we can adapt to the changes.

Interestingly, Randy Pausch said a similar statement in his Last Lecture. “We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.” We aren’t in control of the universe. Things happen, which are way beyond our ability to control. What can make us strong and resilient is how we play the cards that are dealt to us.