I am currently writing this post late in the evening while the rest of my family is asleep. We are in Washington, D.C. getting some much needed vacation before wedding season goes into full swing for me as a clergyman. (Pray for me. Lol!)
When I'm not wearing sunglasses, I like to perch them on top of my head. I don't know why I do this, but I always have. Putting them in my pockets, sooner or later always ends up in crushed sunglasses, and I've learned that this is the easiest way to avoid that over the years.
I discovered something today while walking in the hallway to the elevator on the floor that we are staying on in the hotel. Each time I passed under one of the hallway lights hanging from the ceiling, my sunglasses would bump into them. I'm not a very tall bloke, but I'm not short either. I measure in at an even 5 feet, 11 inches.
When my glasses kept hitting the lights (which were not hung more than 3 or 4 inches from the ceiling) I realized that the hallway I was in was lower than the average ceiling in most hallways that I find myself in.
Then it dawned on me... you're in D.C. Ryan, you dummy!
HUMAN HEIGHT OVER TIME
This city is old. It began to "boom" in the late 1800's and many new structures were built to house the city's residents and visitors.
Once I reached the lobby, I went to the front desk and asked the hotel manager if the building that we were staying in was the original structure or if it was built on on older "shell." He laughed and said, "This place has been here a very long time, we just modernized it to keep up with the times."
People during the mid 1800's wouldn't be hitting their heads off of the ceiling lamps like I was. You know why? They were much shorter then. The graph below, (which only goes back to 1900) shows the trajectory of human height in the United States over the years.
According to the chart, I am slightly above average height were you to build the graph out to 2015 on the same trajectory. This makes sense. Americans live longer now. We eat better food now (if we choose to). We have access to better things that cause our bodies grow taller than our forebears- better medicine, vitamins, cleaner air and water.
And this is why my sunglasses were hitting the ceiling lamps. I was walking in a hallway that was built for someone who was of average height in the late 1800's.
One thing is clear about humans. We are in a steady state of change. It's gradual. It is slow. We may not see it in one, or even two lifetimes, but change does happen, even if we are oblivious to it. This happens with social things, emotional things, scientific things, biological things, governmental things, spiritual things, and just about any other "things" that are.
Some changes are deliberate. Others just happen by the random collision (and friction) of different forces at work in the construct of the world.
When we happen to be alive at the specific time where a spot on the chart (whatever that chart is measuring) changes, it can be alarming when we witness it. After all, we are in the very midst of a newness that has never before existed in history.
Some of us resist the newness as a kind of cursed aberration, the destruction of what we have grown comfortable with and used to.
Others observe it, wide-eyed from afar, hopeful, but a little hesitant to embrace it right away.
Still others see it as a long awaited friend that has finally arrived. The change has come, and it is to be celebrated and embraced as the new "norm" for human beings.
Which of these are you when change comes? The resistor? The hesitant? The embracer?
I'd love to hear what you think in the comment fields below.
Thanks in advance for your thoughts.