Tag Archives: everything changes

Everything Changes

Robin Botie of Ithaca, New York, photoshops her daughter Marika Warden as a mass of changing regenerating cells.I read somewhere that the cells in our human bodies get replaced by brand new cells about every eight years. Blood cells. Stem cells. Brain cells. They keep getting worn out and dying at different rates. We become essentially new people every eight to ten years as almost every single cell in our body replaces itself with a new cell.

So my daughter, who died almost eight years ago, if she had lived would be a wholly regenerated being since the last time I saw her. I am grieving for someone I wouldn’t even know anymore, not the girl who smelled like mustard and lily-of-the-valley, whose feet I rubbed regularly even as the cells of her red-painted toes were shedding and renewing themselves right under my fingertips.

This occurred to me in the middle of the construction going on in my kitchen to replace major parts: the structural framing decayed by two decades of water damage (human bones get replaced once a decade), deteriorated insulation (human fat cells replenish themselves every eight years), and the cracked concrete countertops now being jack-hammered into smithereens (skin cells last two to three weeks before quietly sloughing off at a rate of a million cells a day).

Everything is changing. Sometimes aggressively, sometimes barely noticeably. Life is nothing like it used to be. Regeneration of cells aside, I, myself, am not who I used to be. My daughter would hardly recognize me. The mother she knew has been replaced cell by cell. And maybe I’m not happier these days, but every cell of me has a greater awareness and capacity for happiness than ever before.


What doesn’t change? Have you, yourself, changed for the better or—


Not the Same Anymore

Robin Botie of Ithaca, New York, takes time out from gardening to photoshop headlines of global changes.“I am not the same person I was before.” Another mother said this, as the setting sun seared the landscape behind her. Sitting on the edge of a deckchair, hunched over an almost-empty plate, I looked up suddenly. Sweet light danced on her hair, on the pond beyond her, in the gardens, and in the faces of the others around us, the ones whose old selves had been torn apart by tragedies that now brought us together.

I looked back down at my dirt-rimmed fingernails and at my very respectable outfit from the day before that I’d hastily thrown on to replace the ragged clothes worn all day hiking with the dog, working on the computer, and messing around in the garden. It had been a full day. A good day. And now I was sitting around someone else’s pond with friends and good food. Far away from the rest of the world and troubles I couldn’t control.

“Not a trace remains of who I used to be,” the other mother said. And I knew what she meant. Immediately. Exactly. Sadly. And Joyfully.


Are you who you used to be? How do you hold on to who you are and your beliefs when the world around you seems to be changing in ways that challenge your core values?