If I have learnt one thing this year it is that we are amazingly adaptable. We go through life sort of collecting aspects of it – friends, hobbies, partner, job, house, kids – and for me there is always that vague feeling that if any of that unravelled or changed, I wouldn’t cope. Yet on we go, with life constantly throwing curveballs and although we may struggle inside when it does, for the most part we just get on with it, and for a lot of us we actually get on really well.
As someone who clings to routine and struggles with change, I tend to look at other people who have gone through big, unplanned changes in their lives and wondered how they would adapt, how they would come out the other side and still be themselves and actually happy. I am always so impressed when a few weeks, months, 1 year down the line they are not only fine, but better. I view other people’s ability to adapt as somehow superior to my own; ‘I wouldn’t have been able to do it’.
Something I struggle with a bit is flexibility and not freaking out when things go tits up. I am not even talking big things, I mean really small things sometimes. Not because I expect life to be perfect all the time, believe me I know how imperfect life can feel, but because I panic slightly about how things are going to turn out. The challenges life has thrown at me this year all seem to have been around that, around my ability to adapt and go with the flow. It is definitely a challenge I needed, and while I’m not quite there yet, I am learning and I always have faith that every bruise is a lesson I needed.
This year alone I have moved house, changed jobs, moved to a new side of town very different from what I have always been used to, had to largely sacrifice my running and at times completely give up exercise, been unemployed for a whole summer, gone from feeling fairly flush to having not a penny to my name, been 3 months without a salary, experienced some of my relationships drastically changing and really had to let go of a lot of the routine stuff I had become so dependent on. If someone had told me in January all this was waiting for me I would have gone back to bed and given this whole year a miss.
But despite all these changes that have happened, I have still achieved so much of what I wanted to when 2013 first rolled in and probably been happier than ever. I am driving (yay!), my relationship has progressed to a strong and steady space, I have adjusted to a very new living environment, I have learnt not to rely on money, I have built new friendships and I've taught myself to break from exercise as soon as I need it and not panic about what that means. That was a point I knew I really needed to get to – the ability to go easy on myself. Yeah I have had to let go of old routines, but new routines have taken their place, they just aren’t all about me anymore. All of this is good progress. It is progress which has been really hard work, and with all the changes to my landscape it has been more than a challenge at times. I have suffered with stress and injuries and illness and heartache, but I’ve proved to myself that I can go through difficult things or awkward changes and still be happy and still achieve the things I hope for.
I still have a way to go, but for the final few months of this year I’m going to try and learn from my experiences. Some areas of my life are still clutter and discord, but I am trying my best not to panic about what would happen if this or that, and try to let go a little more of the things I feel bind my life together, because really those things don’t bind my life together – I do. I have surprised myself this year with what the changes I have adapted to, some more easily than others, and sometimes with a massive side-order of stress, but here we are in nearly November and I finally feel like I am swaying back to more of a stand-still. Yeah I may have been a bit ruffled from time to time as I have struggled to adapt, but my feet are still firmly on the ground and I have come up rosier than I could have dreamed. Maybe I can cope after all.
If you can see even the biggest of challenges and obstacles as something that you know you need (even if you don’t know why) it makes it so much easier to take, and in viewing hard situations in that way, you stand a great chance of turning it into something brilliant.