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Mutatis Mutandis

I came across the above title phrase while I was reading about a week ago. According to http://www.translegal.com/legal-latin/mutatis-mutandis it means, “with those things having been changed which need to be changed.”

A few things flashed through my mind as I researched the meaning behind this unfamiliar string of words. Namely, why isn’t Latin still mandatory in schools? Knowledge of numerous languages – no matter how “dead” people perceive them to be – is quite useful, particularly when one studies the Great Thinkers and Books of our time.

Secondly, the thought occurred to me that I had not updated my blog in awhile. I confess that I recently hit my first writing slump for SeekEachLight. It happens every now and then with any project I work on; I suspect my fellow writers, students and humans can relate to the desire of doing everything but work. Though this particular venture of mine is not strictly “work” I was in a state of procrastination, perhaps it was a preemptive strike made by my inner perfectionist. You know the one that tells you whatever you have to say won’t really matter to the world at large and basically, natters on until you shy away from whatever project you’ve been working on.

Well, I am happy to say this post is breaking down the castle harbouring my writer’s inspiration and I will soon return to writing biweekly posts.

Now, the third and final thought that danced through my mind was that everyday life changes, but are all the changes we make necessary? What motivates change? Why are we as a collective, seemingly unsatisfied – always searching but never finding what it is we are reaching for, despite pushing ourselves to the brink?

Or am I overanalyzing humanity too much? Should I just sit back and let life happen?

I’m of the mind that both approaches have merit – pursuing a dream can add incentive to life, it allows for us to rise above the eventual monotony of living. Amazingly, life can be boring – that doesn’t mean that it’s bad, it’s just routine and safe.

But then again, allowing life to come at you as it pleases opens your eyes to other avenues you may never have considered in the interest of staying normal, safe or ordinary. Whatever your excuse for not reaching past the stars to grab hold of your unique destiny – it’s simply a path not taken.

However, CHANGE, was the topic at hand, not one’s method of living life. Though they are intertwined to a certain extent I shall keep this post from becoming a tangent by addressing my original ideas. By what is change prompted? What uses does change have in our daily lives?

My household, which comprises of my parents and I, since I decided to stay home for university and save money for graduate school, has been in a recent state of semi-upheavel. We are expecting guests. Which means that we have been cleaning, organizing and purging each room in the house of unwanted, unused or now meaningless objects, papers and other miscellaneous goods.

Inspired by the rest of my family, I set about doing a preliminary reorganization of my room. I say preliminary because a full organizational overhaul will eventually take place later this summer over a period of several days. As I waded into the ocean of piled up papers I had placed on my desk I came across not one, but two daily planners.

photo 1

Planning is a skill I highly prize in myself, but writing it all down in a little notebook has never worked for me. At the beginning of each semester, I tend to grab a planner and use it faithfully for a week or two until my life is too busy for me to write it all down. At least that’s what it feels like. Seeing everything written down can be less stressful but only if it’s in the form of a long yet ordered To Do List or a scattered bunch of scribblings on a whiteboard.

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Of course, I was sidetracked by these planners and the limited contents of their pages. As I flipped through each one I reflected upon the year – no specific moment was the object of my thoughts – everything was just a swift blur of colour, noise, laughter, studying, reading, comprehension and realization. But those pages don’t hold the key to my memories, so I began to rip scores of them from their bindings.

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*Be advised, I would never treat a book or any other piece of literature in this manner and every scrap of paper went into the recycling bin.

It was freeing to see those dates scatter by my feet, meaningless – the words I wrote crowded out by blank pages; those pages represented my failures, my successes and everything in between but, on the floor they were nothing.

It made me think that change is nothing but a choice – what must be or should be changed is nothing but perception. Just as there are three sides to every story (yours, mine and the truth – which is open to interpretation to a certain degree) there are numerous ways to interpret what one needs in one’s life.

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If you need to keep every newspaper crossword your dad filled in because it reminds you of his passion for knowledge, then do it; the same goes for if you want to collect as many books as possible because it makes you feel less alone. Do it. Do what will provide you with a sense of contentment and safety. Allow change, be open to your own interpretation of it – after all it’s your life.

In the words of Professor Umbridge from Harry Potter, “Let us move forward, then, into a new era of openness, effectiveness and accountability, intent on preserving what ought to be preserved, perfecting what needs to be perfected, and pruning wherever we find practices that ought to be prohibited.”

Though Umbridge is by no means a good role model, her words, taken out of context, apply to the principle of Mutatis Mutandis – preserve what you need to have in your life but do not be afraid to perfect and hence prune what you deem should be changed.

Good luck.

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