Change Is the Only Constant in Life

Nikoletta Tsiarta (ESR14)

The greatest philosophers were people who spent a lot of time thinking, developing theories and less time living. Most of them were self-taught, and they often would spend most of their life in the same place. But what has this to do with my article today?
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Well, recently, I had a conversation with my flatmates, and someone asked: “Do you know what the only constant in our life is?” My flatmate and I started staring at each other, trying to find the right answer and somehow look smart.

“The change,” he said. Then, I reflected for a while, and indeed he was right. I immediately search it online, and I found that Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher, was the one who said it first 2500 years ago!

I’d never thought about it before, but yes! As contradictory as it sounds, so right is. On the other hand, in science, a constant is a number that doesn’t change. It’s a number you can use every time you want to do a calculation and give meaning to your results.
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Science is part of philosophy. After all, every person devoted to studying and producing results can receive a Ph.D. title, aka Doctor of Philosophy. But, can someone with the title be considered a philosopher? Not sure. Difficult to say.

A Ph.D. title doesn’t make you a philosopher. It does make you part of the philosophy, though. We are all, basically, part of the philosophy, and in the NOWELTIES project, we’re experiencing at first hand.

Let’s take me as an example.

I was born in Cyprus, in a small village with only 500 inhabitants. I spent my elementary education in my village’s school with 45 students in total. I then spent my secondary education in a village close by where the school hosted students from 17 different villages (400 in total, almost 10 times higher!). After finishing my studies, I moved to one of the biggest cities in my country to study Environmental Science and Technology. For the experimental part of my bachelor thesis, I travelled to Madrid, all alone. When I graduated, I received an Erasmus grant, and I flew all the way to Amsterdam. After completing my internship, I decided to do my master’s in Oceanography and Limnology at the same university. During my studies, I had the chance to spend some time at Curacao studying corals (want to go baaaack, COVID decides). Later, I spent a few months in Girona doing my master thesis and participating in different international conferences. I was also employed by the same university to work on a project for one year.

When I got the chance, I applied for my current Ph.D. position. And look at me now, I am in Girona doing a Ph.D. in the Engineering field, under this unusual situation we all need to go through, making progress against the pandemic. And, still, I have my secondment pending, and Zagreb is patiently waiting for me.

So many changes and I’m looking forward to more. None of them was easy. Challenge yourself is not an easy job, but it’s totally worthy. Don’t be afraid. Try to remember how your life was evolved until today. It’s amazing, right?

It’s also amazing people’s resiliency and ability to recover from or adjust easily to change. Living life with gratitude and embracing changes gives us the opportunity for continuous renewal and growth.

No matter the change we experience, how we embrace that change will forever impact our ability to live with the change. We (you and I) should be aware of the changes happening in our life, and their understanding may be the force to push us forward in the right direction. Everything changes and is in our hands, whether we are prepared to accept it and live with our new self that is born every day.

So, back to philosophy. What is the connection between the ancient philosophers and us people today?

Simple! We turn their theories into practice, and I think we do it pretty well.

Remember that changes are a normal part of life.

We are changing! The whole world is changing!

And this is the magic of life! The evolution! So, let’s live and change!

The only thing that remains constant and certain in this life is this: EVERYTHING CHANGES!

And for the end, some food for thought: The City – A Poem by Constantine P. Cavafy (my favourite poem “No matter how many places you change, the city will be following you”)

Image source here