When we moved from Minneapolis, MN, to Bismarck, ND, last year, we found a home super close to a grocery store. This means that I make several visits to the store throughout the week to buy only what I need. Because I work from home, I often run to the store on a quick break in the middle of the day. The employees there recognize me, and we greet each other and talk as “almost” friends.
Instead of a bar (hint: Cheers…cue music), I have a grocery store.
The other day, I discovered that I am not the only person for whom this is true. In fact, my guess is that there are several people like me.
The woman for whom I discovered this is true entered the store at the same time as I. She pushed a cart into the store from the parking lot and then switched to a scooter-cart once inside. We passed each other in the aisles as we circled the stores in a similar rhythm, and we left the store at about the same time.
As she transitioned from scooter-cart back to cart, an employee engaged her in conversation. Initially, it appeared that they knew each other from outside of the store; however, I soon realized that they had the same kind of relationship that I have with the deli person.
He asked how she was, and she shared about how her condition continued to deteriorate. She may be in a wheelchair at some point, but she does not know exactly when that would be. He made a comment similar to one I have made about how that must be hard or some other non-committal and non-engaging phrase.
Her response caught me off guard.
Before I go on, I want to step back for a minute. I have had some struggles in my life. I know many people who have struggled in their lives. I have watched some people handle things well, and I have watched some people struggle more than I thought they should. Just writing that sentence shows how I have a pretty judgmental side. Who am I to judge how someone else handles their struggles? All of that to say that I have seen others live out the principle that this woman stated, but I do not think that anyone has ever said it exactly the way she did.
“Well, you just adjust and move on,” she said.
What? Did I hear her right? Adjust and move on? I don’t think I have ever heard someone state a philosophy quite so well. No stages of grief exist in that philosophy. In her statement is an inherent drive to accept what is happening and to do so quickly. The statement defines a desire to live life as it is rather than wishing for something different.
Regret, denial, worry, and other such concepts steal today from us. When we spend our precious moments wishing that this moment would be different than it is, we lose the moment. It passes us by, and we can’t get it back.
I realize that our minds are all wired differently, and many of minds get in our way. We trip over ourselves and get entangled in our thoughts. I have no idea how long this woman has had the condition that she has had. Perhaps she struggled through some denial, depression, or regret in years past, but today – as her condition only seems to worsen – she faces it with strength. She plans to adjust and move on.
Do not misunderstand the power of these two concepts together.
This is not – as my huz would say – a “make like a Disney movie and ‘Let It Go'” moment. It would be great if we could skip the adjust moment and go right to the move on moment. But that is not what this woman is suggesting. Adjusting our thinking from what we thought would be to being able to move on to what is going to be requires intentional thought.
A couple of years ago, we took our then senior-in-high-school aged children to Europe as a last hurrah before they scattered into adulthood. It was a great trip, and I would do it again tomorrow if someone handed me tickets. On our way home, we made a connection that scared me to pieces.
I had never seen anything like it before.
As we neared our gate area, we suddenly found a wall of people all pushing toward one spot. Airport officials had set up a moving passport check right outside of our gate area. Passengers trying to get anywhere had to funnel into one area with a few checkpoints. We shuffled forward, and time ticked onward. It seemed our flight would take off without us.
This was not a high point in the trip for me!
I like control. I like to know what is happening. I like order, and I like logic. There was none of this in this situation. More than one of my family members worked to keep me calm. As it neared departure time for flights, officials would call out the destination, and passengers would move to the front of the line.
There was nothing to be done. A tantrum, screaming match, or breakdown would only make our situation worse. In fact, we observed a man try those tactics – bad choice.
Adjusting my thinking to the fact that I would have to settle in, wait, and move on whenever the crowd permitted was not easy for me, but I did it.
We shuffled. We waited. And eventually we were aboard our plane headed home after the trip of a lifetime.
Regardless of how drastic or simplistic the situation may be, we can apply the same principles and choose contentment rather than dread. While many life circumstances are very hard, those who survive well seem to be the ones who can find the silver lining, make a change in their thinking, and accept what is out of their control as that.
How does this sit with you? New concept? Or old friend? I would love to hear from you!