The times — they are a-changin’

Grant Smith, Editor-In-Chief

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Anyone who knows me well knows that I love Bob Dylan. He is by far one of my favorite musical artists of all time, mostly due to his outstanding lyrics on albums like his 1963 record The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, and his very first 1962 self- titled album Bob Dylan. However, among his early folk style music, one song stands out to me as one of my favorites. In 1964, Dylan released his album The Times They Are A-Changin’. And on that album is the song named after the album.

As equally as I love Dylan, I hate change. This is probably because I have had very little of it throughout my life. This dislike for change is getting stronger as I get older, and probably has never been as high as it currently is. Change makes me anxious; I want routine and expect a schedule. I prefer to have the same routine on most days, and on days off or on weekends, I like to plan for my week. I have been told that this is not a bad desire – to want routine. In fact, many people applaud my organized approach to life. Many fellow students have told me that they envy they way I can formulate a plan and stick to it.

One morning, listening to Dylan, as I do many mornings, his song The Times They Are A-Changin’ began to drum through my speakers as they did many times before. As I softly sang they lyrics, I came to understand what they meant. See, I was always under the impression that Dylan was in charge of his change. As he sang that the times were changing, I thought that he was the one that was changing them – like he was making a big life decision and a lot was about to change. But this is not what he meant.

What Dylan is saying is that the times are constantly changing, whether we want them to or not. Yes, we go through the same twelve months on repeat, but the year is always increasing; we never experience the same day twice. The times are always changing.

At first when in had this realization, it scared me. I did not want the times to change – especially not constantly. But then, I found a peace with it. I found a peace with not being in control.

Another facet about me is that I am a “control freak,” as it is called. But discovering that I actually have no control of whether the times around me change was a foreign territory. Even if I want to have control, I am unable to, and I am thankful for that.

They key is adaptation. If the times are going to change regardless of my opinion, then I must learn to adapt to them. This is the really scary part for me because this is where I have been falling short. I have been so obsessed with trying to keep everything the same as it has always been that I have neglected to “roll with the changes” (another classic by REO Speedwagon). This is why I’m so anxious about change – I am terrible at adapting to it.

Perhaps the best way to adapt to the changing times is to change along with them. We must be constantly changing so we are not caught off guard. It is time for me to change some things.

Come gather ’round people wherever you roam and admit that the waters around you have grown and accept it that soon you’ll be drenched to the bone if your time to you is worth savin’. Then you better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone for the times they are a-changin’.” – Bob Dylan.