Change Would Do You Good

POSTED IN | 11:36 PM

It's a hard truth to swallow sometimes, but in reality nothing stays the same for long.

I think it's a natural inclination in life to grasp those moments and respites when things are good. When friends are near, family is placid...when there's a chilled beverage in your hand and your team is up by three touchdowns with BCS scenarios forthcoming.

And we like to march into those moments and setup camp. We like to pitch our little tents and say this...(this!) harmony is the new normal. I'm happy with my life and I'm never setting foot out of Camp Happy again. It's farewell to the rest of the world, cause by gum, I'm happy. And that's all that matters.

But gee willikers, Batman! That's just not reality.

Not that I'm coming off a particular loss of my own or stomaching an unwonted disturbance in the force. But life has, over the past year, impressed on me the need to realize those moments of respite are NOT the norm. Indeed, those moments are the exception.

They are beautiful moments of special grace and are to be cherished to the fullest. But normal? Hardly.

For about the past year I've had a blithe interest in the psychology of survival. Not really like Bear Grylls does it (although, swoon, what he does is certainly along the same lines).

But why do some live and others don't? Why do some cope and thrive and others implode into a fractionated existence of despair?

But more than knowing how to survive in the Amazon jungle by drinking your own pee (which, they say isn't advisable, btw) and killing wamp rats for food, survival is an everyday commodity with everyday implications.

When the car doesn't start. When you lose your job. When people fail you. When major life plans get screwed up. When you're lonely. When your life expectations are mercilessly trampled.

What do you do? How do you cope?

How do I cope?

Good questions, certainly. And ones we should all try to quell with some meaty answers.

I'm reading this book about survival right now. I recommend it.

It says:

"The best survivors understand that normal is just a fleeting state of mind. Indeed normalcy may seem steady and constant, but it's really just the intermission between the chaos and messiness of life.

"Survivors accept that life probably won't ever return to the way it used to be. So they let go, adapt, and embrace the 'new normal.'"

Some pretty heavy words that can be quite anxiety-inducing just by reading them. To be certain these words bring much chaos to our tranquil, American Dream-laden Camp.

But more and more I'm realizing that survival is a choice of sorts. We can't choose our circumstances but we can choose our responses.

And really, how in control of our lives are we anyway? Seriously. Think about the 1 million variables we have zero power over...

*Pause for antacid tablets.*

And now, with our nation and world at a unique point of tension with job loss, wars, roiling debt and self-serving politics on all sides, we have myriad real-life applications for survival. The stage is ours, in a sense. How will we perform? Like our own Discover Channel docu-drama, will we make it out of the Amazon? And once we get out, will we ever find Camp Happy again, if only a remnant of its former glory?

To be honest I haven't really gotten that far in the book to give you some better answers, but YES, know there are ways out of the jungle.

And we all possess some weapons to battle our perils and those of our kinsmen (and kinswomen). Affluence and stubbornness has just blunted our survival A-game. But we can reclaim some of it with time and effort. And by hanging on God to daily meet our weighty shortcomings.

If we realize that it's good to struggle and that we grow through it then we don't have to despair when life pulls a charlie foxtrot on us. Indeed the snafu becomes the new plan. The new normal.

It's interesting that we have to release our expectations and change in order to arrive at a new place of stability.

Do you let go of expectations? Do you change for the better?

Do I?

And are we really THAT cool to begin with, that change is bad?

Gee willikers, Batman. Gee willikers, indeed.

"Survivors aren't superheroes who vanquish adversity every time and live happily ever after...They're regular people who win some and lose some.

"They overcome adversity but they don't necessarily accomplish it in the same way. They aren't always adaptable and optimistic; they feel stuck and gloomy, too.

"Ultimately what defines a survivor is the talent for making the most of life, however much remains."

4 Responses to 'Change Would Do You Good'

  • DrLeoMarvin said...'> 11:17 AM

    Great post. I like the antacid comment.

    I'm definitely a slave to wanting things to be normal and statically good.

  • Hannah said...'> 8:21 PM

    Expectations are so hard to let go of... But, it sure feels good when you do. For some reason, as I read this, it makes me think that forgiveness must be vital to a survivor's mentality. Forgiveness in all aspects: of others, of self, of the messiness life throws your way.

    Anyway, J Stu, good post. It really hits home for me as I look over the cusp of 'the normal for now' at more big changes... Thanks for arming me with some good ideas on how to welcome them.

  • Ariana Q. said...'> 8:49 PM

    Excelente preguntas amigo, creo que todos podemos evaluar nuestros mechanismos de sobrevivencia.

  • Maggie said...'> 4:21 PM

    Applicable. Also, I like it.