I just spent the weekend driving to San Diego with my daughter where she will be starting her new job. Once again, she will be adjusting to a different environment with new friends and new responsibilities.
As with many young people, her last five years have been filled with constant adjustments: teaching English overseas, attending graduate school and then back home again to look for work.
But for many of us, those anticipated changes and adjustments are distant memories. We are no longer working, at least for a paycheck, and have become comfortable in our everyday experiences: same house, same friends, and same interests. And although we may have slowed down, most things are still familiar.
Then our life changes, whether we want it to or not, and we move from the familiar to the unfamiliar: moving into a retirement community because our children are concerned about our safety; no longer being able to enjoy our hobbies because of chronic pain; or worse of all, losing lifelong friends because they have moved or passed away.
Moving from the familiar to the unfamiliar can be scary and confusing. You may wonder how to deal with things you don’t want to deal with? How do you adjust and cope with what you feel you cannot endure? But cope you must, because there is no such thing as not coping. You either cope well or poorly.
Joan Chittister in her book, “The Gift of Years” eloquently discusses how adjustment is a part of aging and it is up to us to decide whether to live our later years with despair and anger or with joy and anticipation.
For instance, you can decide to fight the changes, blaming others and destroying once good relations when you need them the most. Or you can passively accept your new situation, but emotionally refuse to adjust – living in the gloom of what once was but no longer can be, and making your life a real struggle.
Or you can cope with the stress of change with courage; experiencing the losses, but also seeing the new gifts surrounding you while anticipating the joys of the daily small stuff.
Joan Chittister believes the challenge of these years is “that we must consciously decide how we will live, what kind of person we will become now, what kind of personality and spirituality we will bring into every group, how alive we intend to be”.
But the blessing “is being able to live so openheartedly, and to adjust so well, that others can look to us and see what being old can bring in terms of life, of holiness, of goodness to make the world new again”.
When we were young, we were constantly adjusting to new situations: marriage, children, careers. Then we became comfortable with the familiar. But once again moving from the familiar to the unfamiliar; living life as it comes to you, not as you insist it be, may be our greatest opportunity for personal growth.
Music has returned to the Center on every second and fourth Tuesdays nights starting at 7:00 PM. In addition, on Tuesday August 1st, Truman Boler will be singing. Truman was a regular Tuesday night performer until he moved to the Portland area. But he has been persuaded to come back to play one more time. So, stop by, say hi and once again enjoy an evening of Truman’s Country Gold.
The cigarette commercial that appeared on radio and television from 1954 until 1972, was “Winston taste good like a cigarette should”. (I received answers from Sandy Haechrel and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket non-smoker Jerry Phillips.)
Continuing this month’s theme of popular television commercials, this 1960’s animated commercial, featured a silly rabbit who was constantly trying to trick a group of children out of their bowl of cereal, but was always caught and told the cereal was “only for kids”. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the cereal? Email your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with the story of Sisyphus, the King of Ephyra.
Well, it’s been another week, trying to find the dots to connect. Until we meet again, keep on truckin’.
“To know how to grow old is the master work of wisdom and one of the most difficult chapters in the great art of living.” Swiss philosopher Henri Frederic Amiel