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Adapting and growing

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Well hello, friends. I realize I haven’t touched this blog in over a year – and it’s been a big year in our household, with some dazzling highs and breath-stealing lows that I really did intend to share here in some manner of eloquence. But then a global pandemic happened, and while I do hope to eventually regale you with last year’s stories and lessons learned, right now it feels weird to talk about all of that without first acknowledging the sudden craziness of our current reality. I mean come on, a pandemic? Quarantine?? Did not see that one coming. Truly.

So this is just a brief post to check in and tell you I’m fine, before I turn my attention to musings on the current state of things. I’ve had two excellent check-ups at Mayo since I last wrote, and can now proudly say that I’ve graduated to once a year scans, which is supremely awesome. I’m still finding the pre-scan nerves to be stupidly intense and disruptive (like I still lose my ever-loving mind a few weeks prior and I am telling you it’s not fun – for me, and especially for my family), so if I can’t be less nervous, at least I can now be nervous less often. That is a victory, and I will take it. In regard to the current pandemic, all of my health “stuff” does not, I believe, make me super immunocompromised, so I am like every other person around here, trying to stay away from the world in order to protect the world. I do not work in what would be termed “essential services,” and I don’t have to homeschool children, praise the Lord. I’m just staying home in my sweatpants (leggings when I feel fancy), taking care of my family, using technology more than I ever have – and discovering that, at any given moment, I genuinely have no idea what day it is. I’m not exaggerating. I missed my neighborhood book club’s virtual meeting last week – I knew it was on Tuesday, so it’s not like I forgot about it. I just didn’t know I had entirely missed Tuesday until discovering quite by accident that it was currently Wednesday. It’s a weird, disconcerting feeling to float along without the usual events that mark the days, but I’m adapting.

And that’s really the name of the game here for most of us: adapting. To a new normal that, in this case, is hardly normal. Whether we’re attempting to do our jobs remotely, dealing with kids at home that are not usually present, or working our regular jobs while risking our health – all while grieving the loss of whatever “normal” meant to us – we are all adapting, willingly or not. Some of us have experienced tremendous losses, some of us are fearful amid great uncertainties, while some of us just want to know what day it is. Whatever our circumstances, there has been disruption to some degree.

Adapting. I don’t know a lot of people who like it, because let’s be honest, it’s not usually our idea in the first place.

Whatever stage of life we’re in, it always seems that right about the moment we think we’ve *maybe* figured it out and can relax a bit, things shift and we’re abruptly thrust into another, unknown and uncharted phase of life. Maybe unforeseen changes are good for us, in the way that drinking enough water and eating broccoli is good for us – hardly exciting, and not what we’d choose, but they can make us healthier and stronger. I doubt anyone is thrilled about surprise teachable moments, because we want to be competent – and in our competence we are comfortable. But growth and comfort seem to be at odds in life. This was particularly annoying to me when it came to parenting, because I so wanted to be good at it. I was a stay-at-home mom, so it was my job, for crying out loud. I felt like I needed to rock this gig. But the frustrating thing was, every time I felt like I had mastered the art of parenting a kid who was ____ years old, they’d move on to the next phase and I was back to novice status. No credit for having done any of the work leading up to it, here we were in a brand new arena, with all new obstacles and challenges. Fun fact: my son threw his first public tantrum on his second birthday. It was as if he thought to himself, “Welp, I’m two now, better hit her with that whole ‘terrible’ thing people talk about…”

That’s pretty much life, right? The second we start to feel like we could be getting the hang of it, everything changes. The death, the layoff, the divorce, the move, the diagnosis… suddenly we’re reeling, grasping for anything that feels like a handhold, desperate for competence and the comfort of the familiar. 

But what happens when the bottom drops out on everyone at the same time? When it’s a collective experience, rather than an individual one?

Like in, say, a global pandemic?

Well as it so happens, I have some observations about that, along with a few stories – and I promise it’ll only be a day or two before you see the next post, not a year. I mean it’s not like I’m super busy right now…

Till next time, friends. Stay safe, and give yourselves and others some extra grace today. 

3 thoughts on “Adapting and growing

  1. Hi Jen! It’s so nice to hear about your journey and I’m so glad you are staying healthy. You have a gift of putting life in perspective and keeping it real. So, thank you for this lovely read today. Love and hugs to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The ad I just saw was for how to empty your bowels daily. Glad to know you didn’t get to select them🤪
    Anxious for your next post—you write beautifully!❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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