Adapting to change determines who will survive

Published 6:00 am Friday, August 3, 2018

My 5-year-old granddaughter will be attending kindergarten this fall. She and her brother will be attending the same school. They were separated one year while he went to kindergarten and she was still in pre-school day care. It seems impossible to me that these two little ones are on a whole new chapter in their lives.

I cherish every visit I have with them. The youngest is a talker. I can’t help wondering how she is going to adapt to this change of being required to sit in a seat when told, be quiet when told, and pay attention to the teacher’s every word. She is carefree and full of joy at the moment, but I know she must adapt to school rules if she is going to be successful. I just hope she has a patient teacher who will find her joy contagious.

We all must adapt to change as we travel the roads of life. With my dad still in rehab, our lives have changed from every day staying with him at the hospital to every day driving to Cumberland where he is a patient for rehabilitation. Our daily routines have been turned upside down. Yet we have adapted to the changes as needed.

After being married as a young woman and never having lived alone in my whole life, I had to make the adjustments that followed a divorce. I have never wanted to live a life alone, but I am so comfortable with that life now, it would be really tough to adapt to the change of being married and being responsible for another human being twenty-four hours a day.

Growing older brings changes in every phase of life. I still remember wanting to be old enough to drive a car. Little did I know that when I started driving, I’d be driving forever. I’ve probably covered more than a million miles on the road in my lifetime.

I couldn’t wait to be able to get a real job with a real paycheck. I worked for almost fifty years and was used to the routine of getting up and going to work. When I had to retire because of knee surgeries, I had no idea that being retired from teaching would be such a difficult change. I still work at part-time things but giving up my classroom and a job that I loved certainly forced me to adapt to changes for which I wasn’t ready.

Since my son moved on the Indiana side of Louisville, I have had to adapt to changes in driving in crazy traffic. It isn’t just interstate traffic going faster on more lanes that we have in the mountains. It is the entrance ramps coming in on both sides of the interstate, and cars exiting on both sides of the interstate on top of each other. It is a change in speed, bad attitudes behind the wheel, and people zipping in and out of lanes, cutting off other cars, slamming on their brakes, and driving like maniacs. I pray every time I head that way. I really HATE city traffic, but I am forced to adjust to the changes in my driving techniques.

All of us must deal with changes, both planned and unexpected. Going away to college, starting a new job, buying a house or car, changing jobs, having a baby, loss of a loved one, or illness demands change. We are all capable of handling far more than we realize. We can adapt when life demands it.

Being able to adapt to changes determines who will remain mentally and physically healthy over time. In the big picture, adapting to change determines who will survive and who won’t.

Reach longtime Enterprise columnist Judith Victoria Hensley at judith99@bellsouth.net or on Facebook. Check out her blog: One Step Beyond the Door.