Tuesday, June 08, 2010

SEASONS OF LIFE

My dad, Charles Diehl, and me enjoying our respective seasons.

“To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.” ~ George Santayana

My husband, Neal, often counsels others about the seasons of life when they express frustration in their day-to-day circumstances. He learned about life’s seasons just after getting his doctorate. In graduate school Neal was a well-oiled machine focused on finishing school. His schedule dovetailed beautifully with each class, work, family, research, and writing.

Then he graduated and everything changed—his schedule, his routine, even his focus. This presented a problem because he tried to keep everything the same, and frankly, none of those around him moved fast enough—especially me. He felt as if he were beating his head against the wall trying to deal with people and circumstances.

It finally occurred to him, life has its seasons. Each season is set. It gets cold in the winter (for most of us anyway) and we put on coats. It gets hot in summer and we put away our coats. To resist a season and wear a coat in hot weather is foolish. He realized the season of his life had changed and he was resisting it.

Do you feel anxious about life, do you feel like you are beating your head against the wall? Are you frustrated by your circumstances? Maybe your season has changed. Seasons can involve many things:
·      Graduation from school
·      Marriage/Divorce
·      New babies
·      Teenagers (ack!)
·      New job
·      Empty Nest
·      Aging
·      Retirement
·      Health
·      A move of any kind
·      Death of a loved one
·      Dealing with hardship
·      Any set of circumstances that are different.

The secret of embracing our current season is to “modify and adjust.” For instance,  I’m in the middle of middle age. I get frustrated having to wear “readers.” I own countless pairs but I’m like a squirrel that buries acorns and forgets where they are. I could complain that up until the age of 53, I could see just fine. But you know what, I can’t now. So, I’m going to have to adjust and find a place to keep my glasses or buy stock in the reader glasses biz.

Keep reminding yourself that every season of life has its own joys and its own sorrows. Focus on the practical things you can do to “cooperate” with the season, instead of trying to live it the same way as you did in the previous season.

This week, identify your season. Mine is a season of new, but challenging, opportunities. I’m being stretched by responsibilities that I’ve always been glad for others to shoulder. Now it is my turn to grow. It is a little nerve-wracking, but I’m modifying the way I think about my abilities, and myself. I’m adjusting by taking small steps forward.

How about you? I’d like to hear about your season, its joys and challenges, and what you are doing to modify and adjust.





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