You are changing every moment. You may not notice it in the mirror, but it happens nonetheless. Something changes in your body as well as in your mind – all the time. You are exposed to many impressions: perhaps you read on the Internet or in books, write, see things on television, get exposed to experiences at your workplace and on the street, reflect, or get information from others. All of that is a learning process. It changes your insights. You may, however, only see a major physical and psychological change when you compare yourself to the person you were ten years ago. Yet, the change did not occur in one giant step: it happened through a miniscule change process from moment to moment.
You absorb impressions, lessons, and countless other influences on a continual basis, and through that, you integrate those influences within. They become a part of you. The sun penetrates into your skin and becomes a part of you. The raindrops that fall on you do the same. The wind that blows through your hair and the millions of natural and non-natural elements it contains: they also become a part of you – change you – re-create you.
Your food and clothing, your car and house, your bed and towel, they are prepared by so many people, who, thanks to their efforts, are a part of you now. You don’t know all those people, resources, and places, and they don’t know you, but that does not mean they are unimportant. The peanuts you just snacked on were planted by someone, after the soil in which they were planted, was prepared. The efforts of this person - or these persons - are now fused into you. The pickers, transporters, processors, materials that were appended in the process, and the numerous other people that contributed to getting the peanuts in your kitchen, cabinet, or table, live forth in you now.
If you study your hands, you may see the likeness with those of your mother. When you smile you may resemble your father. As long as you live this will be the case, even if they move on. Your children also carry parts of you in them. It is through them that you will live on when you pass on from this stage. Your family, colleagues and friends: they also carry parts of you, due to the connection that exists between you and them.
There are many people you care for, others you cannot stand, and yet others that you don’t have any particular opinions about. All of these people affect you, whether you like it or not. They all contributed into making you the person you are today and they will help reshape you into the person you will be tomorrow. You are always changing, and the person that is now reading this piece is not exactly the same person that will do something else in a few minutes.
In you, there are also influences from ancestors whose bodies have turned to dust a long time ago. They also live on through you. Both their benefactors and their offenders, who once influenced them, are vested in you. You may be proud or disenchanted by what they did, whether they were hard workers or sluggards, oppressors or oppressed, yet, they have contributed to the person you are today. All of this does not only pertain to you, of course. It pertains to everyone, no matter how trivial or far-fetched it may seem.
Next Monday, Suriname commemorates 150 years of formal abolition of slavery. I learned that a lot of celebrations are planned. Well, perhaps this is a moment worth celebrating. That depends on how you look at it. Some might consider it more appropriate to engage in reflection and gratitude for the blood, sweat, and tears of their ancestors, who probably came from everywhere. Regardless of what you choose: you are richer now, thanks to them: today more than yesterday; tomorrow more than today. Happy slavery abolition commemoration!