Constant change in the River

Nationality: Ethiopian/Italian

Primary Language: English

Age: 21

Occupation: Student

Residence: Los Angeles

Date: 2/20/2024


“No man ever steps in the same river twice. For it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man” 


This is a proverb that was told to the participant by his father. He explained that he moved schools quite a lot when he was younger and sometimes complained about the impermanence of his life. He explained that his father used this proverb to soothe him and rationalize his fears. It was explained to him as a metaphor that signifies how you are always changing as an individual. He reflected on how his father reminded him to accept change and to not focus on it as a negative as it is inevitable.


It is interesting how a proverb can be used to soothe emotions and help rationalize their thoughts. Hearing the participant’s interpretation of the proverb made me ponder if it had an even more developed meaning. To add on, it also signifies how the world around us is always changing. In a more literal term you can never step in the same river, because the currents are always changing and flowing, causing there to be constant movement within the river. In a more philosophical way, it reminds you that experiences can only be lived once as nothing is permanent, different factors are always changing in one’s life; from a range of emotions, successes, failures, relationships, and even environmental.