Well-Adapted with the People Inside

To be well-adapted is to wear many hats! But what happens when it’s time to wear a whole new set of hats?

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 compass point. It’s exciting- –this morning. But a few days ago I wasn’t welcoming new possibilities. At all. As it turns out, after a year of remaking, 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 was pretty much out of 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 then was a threat. Waves of resistance crashed through me. No, no more change! I have made myself a good a life out of this mess. I’ve become well-adapted to this incredibly difficult situation! 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 was saying No, No, No, and then he says if I want to follow through with the travel plans I’ve talked about it would be good to book flights, etc., now, because the travel industry is going 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. And I have a dream to see Barcelona and the amazing architecture of Gaudi, and go to Italy and- -oh, lots of places. But considering travel as a real possibility terrified me!


No, No, No I thought on the inside. 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 new, improved opportunities to come. Such as (gasp!) eating in a restaurant or getting on an airplane. And what about those used-to-be everyday experiences, like going to a contra dance, that now feel taboo?


Telling her what I was feeling helped in and of itself but 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 and build a life from the ashes of it all. This admirable, capable, well-adapted woman also feared a freer, more promising future.


Maybe both of us well-adapted individuals have worked so hard to make things work that we now identify ourselves as people who can prevail under circumstances that truly suck. Like me, maybe she feels proud of herself for “doing so well,” for having the ability and tenacity to survive and sometimes thrive in this crisis. It is who we’ve become and we feel really good about how we’ve navigated the past year.


The future means change. The future means remaking ourselves, again, maybe on a larger scale than we can imagine. Life is constantly changing but this past year the changes have been rapid and extreme. We’ve had to adapt, and 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, once more, I will be well-adapted.

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