from evy's notebook
I started reading Hank Green's new book A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor today, and came across this passage:
I thought about how maybe the constancy of our surroundings makes us believe in a constancy of reality and of self.

I made a mental note that maybe that would be a good topic for a video, or at least an Instagram caption
It feels a bit silly to use this as a writing prompt for my notebook given the narrator's comment, but I'm interested in exploring it and therefore it is a good topic for daily writing.
It's easy for me to see various things as unchanging, and this perspective seems somewhat necessary to go about my day-to-day life. I assume that I'll continue to find my favourite foods tasty. I assume I'll continue to want to work as a software engineer. I assume my job and housing situation will be stable. I assume that I still love the people I'm close to, and that they continue to enjoy spending time with me.
Sometimes I'll think more critically about these kind of things, and if something ends up being not true or not what I want, then I'll consider adjusting my behaviour. But it's exhausting to always be critically examining all my assumptions, so I don't. I've seen how as people get older, they often settle into a constancy in their life, and I can appreciate the comfort in that.
A common trigger for me questioning something is noticing a friend making a change in their life. A friend moves into a community home, and I reconsider how soon I'd want to pursue doing that myself. A friend makes a gender transition, and I reconsider how I think about my own gender. If constancy of my surroundings contribute to my belief in a constancy of my reality and self (and I think it does), then changes I witness around me contribute to a questioning of my reality and self.
Of course, most of us have been dealing with lots of change this year due to covid-19 [1]. I've experienced so much loss of constancy in my surroundings - including things that don't directly affect me but I still took for granted - and as my friends move and companies lay off thousands of employees, I start to wonder if I should be reconsidering many of the core aspects of my life. If nothing is certain, why not just burn it to the ground and build something that works better for the person I've become today?
This sounds daunting to me, and so I probably won't actually rebuild my life right now. Things feel too uncertain to make any reliable changes anyways - who's to say that my self or surroundings won't dramatically change again very soon? I hate how much suffering has come out of this pandemic. But I'm also inspired to see people recently questioning aspects of their self and their reality - the surge in racial justice and increased demand for the abolition of police and prisons is one of my favourite examples of this.
I've also appreciated the things that have stayed mostly the same these past few months - work, friends, rituals and routines - they've helped me believe the comforting fantasy that the good things in my life right now will continue to bring me joy for a long while more.

[1] Hank actually made a video that I found really interesting, where he talks about how this book was written before covid-19 but by complete luck ended up being surprisingly relevant to these times.