ROW80 is the writing challenge that knows we all have lives. That’s pretty handy, because sometimes the challenges that crop up expand beyond the goals, we set for ourselves, and complicate life in general. Having the freedom to adjust goals or take a break as often as we need to gives us the flexibility to continue on the path to our goals, to the best of our ability, even amidst chaos.
ROW80 accepts and embraces the realities of life, but it’s still up to us to figure out howto deal with adversity when life throws up obstacles between us and our goals, writing or otherwise.
Sometimes, it’s those same obstacle-inclusive lives that offer a path toward dealing with the non-planned challenges they present.
My life just happens to include an eleven year old live-in guru. In helping her navigate the vagaries of her own life, I often find tools I can use in my own – one of the job perks of being a mom.
My daughter generally has an upbeat personality, but eleven is a tricky age. Her body is changing dramatically, just as her understanding of the world is getting more sophisticated. She still believes in magic, but she also realizes that waving a wand at a problem won’t simply untangle or erase it.
That’s a hard realization, and she’s had some ‘glass half empty’ moments, these last months.
I try to help her look for the positive in her situation. If she’s sad that a sleepover has ended, I remind her that she can hold to the fun,she had , if she focuses on that more than the sadness at the inevitable ending.
The glass, we’ve decided, is like Schrodinger’s Cat. Half full and half empty mean the same thing – the glass, of course, is both, at the same time. There’s not one drop of difference – and , at the same instant, there’s a universe between the two.
It’s all a matter of perspective. Dwelling in the difficulties of a challenge, the things that just aren’t going to go the way we wanted them, planned them, hoped for, keeps us chained down and burdened. The challenges are walls and restraints that won’t let us move or even see past them.
We get stuck. Maybe we see no way out, and we quit.
But that’s only one perspective. If we tip our heads and shift our focus, we might just see things a little differently. Not in a la-la-la, let’s- just- pretend -this -isn’t -a -problem way, but in a proactive manner….kind of more like MacGyver than MacGruber. =)
We can see the challenges as possibilities for change, learning, growth, new opportunities. For the chance to chart a new course, set new goals, find new ways to achieve them that accept the challenges without being victimized or paralyzed by them.
Schrodinger’s Glass is, at once, half full and half-empty. It’s an optical illusion of a glass that can be looked at two ways, but not at the same time.
It’s all in how we see it.
For me, the difference is gratitude. I’m dealing with a few unforeseen challenges at the moment, and it might be easy to see budget restrictions and family of origin frictions as negative developments. Instead, I’m trying to find ways to deal with our slightly more finite than I’d like resources, and be grateful that we have as much as we do – we aren’t hungry, we own our home (even if it’s far from fancy, and in need of repairs we can’t quite manage easily). And I’m grateful that I’ve learned that I don’t have to become enmeshed in the dysfunctions and manipulations that are such a part of the family into which I was born. I can keep a little personal distance, or a lot, as needed – it’s up to me how involved I wish to be. I can stand for myself and my own family – with strength, and without anger.
This round, I’m challenging myself to seek gratitude when the inevitable adversities present themselves. Can I look beyond what’s lacking, and see the potential gifts and benefits that are offered in evident setback? Can I shift goals and priorities, or learn new ways of doing things that will continue to move me toward my goals? Can I appreciate what I have, while I move toward resolution to difficult circumstances? Can I continue to strive toward my dreams, even through adversity?
I’m going to try, and I invite you to join me. Let’s lift Schrodinger’s glass together, and drink a toast to the challenges we set for ourselves, and the ones that life offers up as surprise packages.
My young live-in guru lifts a glass – you get to decide whether it’s half-full or half-empty!