Adapting is hard. Adapting may just be the most difficult part of living. Whether it is a new job, new routine, new diagnosis, or a shift in relationships, you may find yourself feeling overwhelmed and “stuck”. Feelings of stress just make you less flexible and less open to change, and certainly don’t stop change from happening. Jimmy Dean once said, “I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.” Nothing is ever certain in life, but you have the power to change your attitude and become, dare I say it? Adaptable.
The dictionary has two ways of defining adaptability. The first is what you might expect; the ability to adjust to new conditions. The second, however, is enlightening.
Adaptable, adj – The ability to be modified for a new use or purpose.
What if we viewed change as an opportunity to be modified for a new purpose? What would our mindset look like if we started viewing change as an opportunity rather than a burden? As the year 2018 came to an end, I took a good deal of time to reflect on the message I wanted to bring into 2019. Here are 3 ways I overcame change this past year and what it meant to me.
1) I came to grips with life’s unpredictability
I used to think I was in control of my future. In fact, I didn’t just used to think that, I used to cling to it for dear life. I was struck with a family hardship early this past year that spun our world upside down. Finding myself stuck in the midst of change, I began to realize that what truly damages our very soul is the belief that life will never change. When you refuse to acknowledge that things will always be the same, you set yourself up for disappointment and heartbreak. I quickly learned that life moves in unpredictable ways, and that is okay. The fewer expectations you set up, the more you are able to enjoy life’s victories and find true freedom.
2) I tumbled and rolled with my physical limits
Another part of life that all of us will face is the fact that our bodies will never be perfect, and we are not indestructible, no matter our age. Being okay with the fact that you will encounter physical difficulties is key to finding peace with your body. I spent countless hours this year in physical therapy for both new and old injuries and even more hours feeling frustrated that my body couldn’t keep up. Saint Augustine once said that “The greatest evil is physical pain”, but I prefer reading the words of Haruki Murakami instead: “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional”. When your physical being doesn’t cooperate, you are forced to reflect on your mental being. One of the lessons I took away from 2018 that I will cherish the most in 2019 is that no matter what you endure, your attitude dictates your experience.
3) I looked for the silver lining and struck gold
Lastly, 2018 gave me the opportunity to break free from an old mold and look for happiness in places I hadn’t searched in yet. I became a “yes man” and participated in hew hobbies, spent more time doing what I love, spent more time with who I love, and invested in relationships that mutually fed my spirit. It’s easy to get caught up in the little disappointments that each day will inevitably bring, but I made a conscious decision to focus on the bigger picture and count my blessings. It’s not always an easy task, but it’s worth the effort. There is always a beautiful silver lining to every event that takes place in your life. Every minute spent focusing on the positive brings new perspective and a fresh sense of adventure to life.
Cheers to growth in 2019!
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