In the end is entropy. Without external energy added to the system, everything dissipates.
Zeroth: You must play the game.
First: You can’t win.
Second: You can’t break even.
Third: You can’t quit the game.
— The Three Laws Of Thermodynamics
Being responsible for the functioning of a ship in the sea, for the safety of the boat and all who sail on her, TBB has to be good at making and implementing decisions. People rely on her to get the right things done, to understand the situation and ensure that all the systems which protect and support the crew are functioning properly.
In other words, she fights entropy everyday. It is her energy and the energy she marshals that fight decay and dissipation to keep sailors safe at sea.
This fight is just an extension of her life as a project engineer and a parent, making choices to care for a family, working very hard to offer structure and safety to her children and those she loves.
My life was a also a battle with entropy as I took care of others, such as during my parents last decade.
Since then, though, as my inputs of energy get smaller, my system entropy increases.
TBB is right; we can’t just wait for the world to change around us, we have to change it ourselves. Only a blend of attitude shift and action can really create change in our lives.
When I tell TBB what I see stopping me, her kind and compassionate answer is simple: Change it. Make the phone calls, get the work done, spend whatever resource you need, commit to change.
For TBB, betting on tomorrow is the only way to live a life. She can remember choices she made that were very expensive for her at the time, but now she understands them as choices she needed to make at the time, choices that reaped rich rewards in learning and connection even as they cost her pocketbook dearly.
A plan of action and then execution. For TBB, this is the only way to fight entropy, the only way to make tomorrow better or even just tolerable. Order the hardware, fix the car, write the letter.
To make tomorrow better, you have to start by actually making tomorrow better. That is the only way to fight dissipation, the only way to challenge entropy, the only way to claim a new life.
I always need to hear these lessons again. The last year and a half have been a trip into entropy, so I need to value the external energy people are kind and smart enough to gift me.
The struggle is still the struggle; do we wait for the momentum of change, or do we push to change what we can, starting in small and tender ways? How do we find the wisdom to know what we have to be serene enough to accept and what we have to be strong enough to change?
You must be the change that you wish to see in the world, as Gandhi said.
And as the entropic vortex keeps sucking me in, the one that comes with the slowing down of age, TBB reminds me that claiming action is the only way to make a better life.