This morning, predawn, it’s warm and windy. Wind predominantly from the east but varying to all directions surrounds me. It blows unknown changes from every point of the compass. It’s exciting- –this morning. But a few days ago I wasn’t welcoming change and new possibilities. At all. As it turns out, after a year of remaking and continual adjustment, of cheer leading myself through restrictions and isolation, I’m well-adapted to living in the pandemic. Maybe too well-adapted.
You have been pretty moody this week.
Yeah. Sad moody.
Thanks for noticing, Lily and 9. It’s a good thing I have the two of you because for a few days I pretty much cut communication with everyone else. I just didn’t want to talk about how low I felt, not being able to see anything good on the horizon. It started last week when I was talking to a friend, someone I love hearing from who usually leaves me feeling encouraged and hopeful about making it through all of this.
What set off the downward spiral? It was when he was complimenting me on how well I’ve done this past year, staying fit and healthy and working on interesting projects. How I’ve made a good life in the midst of the dumpster fire we’re all experiencing. That, when all of this is over and we emerge on the other side, my life will explode into all kinds of wonderful new adventures.
That sounds positive.
Yes, Lily, you’d think so. But what I heard was a threat. Waves of resistance crashed through me. No, no more change! I am well-adapted to the incredibly difficult situation at hand! I’ve been strong and smart and worked hard this whole year, with a few miserable dips and black moments of despair but no one’s exempt from these in the current circumstances, right?
So my mind is saying No, No, No, and then he says if I want to follow through with some of the travel plans I’ve mentioned it would be a good time to book flights, etc., because the travel industry will go full throttle when more people are vaccinated and feeling confident about leaving home.
But you do want to go places, don’t you?
If you had asked me before last week’s conversation I would have said yes, 9. I have a folder with clippings of some US destinations, mostly in the west and related to my interest in astronomy. I dream of seeing Barcelona and the amazing architecture of Gaudi, and Italy and- -oh, lots of places. But considering these things as real possibilities terrified me!
No, No, No I thought, and I said to my friend, Wow, I think I’m really afraid for things to change. Better work on that.
Yesterday another friend messaged me, someone I’d finally reached out to and confided in about my terror at switching to the opportunities that will soon come, like (gasp!) eating in a restaurant or getting on an airplane. And what about all those used-to-be everyday things, like joining a contra dance group, that now feel taboo?
Telling her how I was feeling helped in and of itself and her reply nailed it. She’d heard a story very much like mine from another single female friend, someone she was impressed with for being strong and adapting well, for turning the restrictions into opportunities to make something new, to build a new life from the ashes. This admirable, capable, well-adapted woman was also feeling fearful of a freer, more promising future.
I’m thinking that both of us well-adapted individuals have worked so hard to make things work that we’ve come to identify ourselves as people who can prevail over circumstances that truly suck. Maybe we feel proud of “doing so well,” for having survived and even thrived in this crisis.
The future means change. The future means remaking ourselves, again, maybe on a larger scale than we imagined. Life is constantly changing but this past year the changes have been rapid and extreme. We’ve had to adapt, quickly. What we’ve done, all of us, is monumental. The changes we’ll need to make soon are also monumental. We’ll need to change again, radically, to craft how we live in the future.
Whew! Just thinking about it makes me tired!
Me too, Lily. But now that I’ve had a week to process my resistance and turn my emotions around to face what must be faced, my energy and resolve are trickling back.
I can imagine a future where I will be well-adapted.
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