You can learn to bloom where you’re planted

Bloom where you're planted

It’s not a matter of debate.

You, like everyone else, need the skills of transitioning well.

Transitions will happen in your life, guaranteed.

Sometimes they’re sought.

Sometimes they’re accepted.

And sometimes they’re fought, unwanted, unwarranted, unexpected.

Our children will be transitioning soon. In their case, it’s from college to creating their own lives more fully as adults.

That doesn’t mean, though, that even if these transitions were expected, our children will feel fully ready for the change when their turn to walk in the cap and gown is done.

Anne completes a master’s degree in nurse-midwifery at Vanderbilt in December. She’ll help women through the major change of welcoming their new babies into their lives.

Matt graduates in June, 2014 from UC Davis. A film studies major, he’ll make his way to a satisfying career, too. He may discover, in the process, as the rest of us in the family have, that the path to that satisfying career includes a few exploratory and path-clarifying stops.

Transitions in life may bring many changes: location and living quarters, job, relationships, family circumstances, finances, health, and more.

My husband and I know about health transitions, much more than we did a year ago.

In the process of dealing with Gary’s sudden need for back surgery and its aftermath in the summer of 2012, we missed the early signs of a burgeoning foot problem.

And, as we all know, whispered cues and clues of the need for change, unheeded, can start to scream at you.

We’re dealing with more dramatic circumstances now (think knee high boot for a year…and no driving for months). But dealing with it, we are.

My mantra through this second year of health transitions and helping my husband regain his full health is, “We’re working it!”

Skills of transition are, fundamentally, the skills of resilience.

They’re also, often, the skills of innovation.

Solutions are sometimes cobbled together in the moment, and even better solutions are created, with time, experimentation and experience.

Learn from my family’s transition experience, if you can.

You need to be able to land on your feet, when change happens, whether unwanted or sought.

And it’s better to learn to bloom where you’re planted, wherever you are.

With good transition skills and great resilience, you can deal with just about anything.

You can even take a heap of unwanted experiences, if that’s what you’ve got, and turn it into the fuel, foundation, and fertilizer for a garden that’s beautiful, perhaps even inspiring, and more.

How to accept and enjoy the holiday you have, even if it’s not the holiday you planned

Acceptance.

Maybe that’s on my mind because it’s the high-intensity holiday week for many people around the world.

These celebratory times can be fun but intense.

Energy, hope and expectations run high.

And then.

Reality sets in.

Something doesn’t go QUITE as planned, and then it happens again (and again).

Here’s a short list of things that can go wrong with the holidays when reality sets in:

- You don’t quite get everything done that “MUST” be done

- Someone is disappointed with their gift (maybe that disappointed someone is you)

- Gifts are mismatched

- The dinner rolls catch fire (and that happened not once, but TWICE to us the year we served holiday dinners to our extended families in our first home.

Maybe the rolls were trying to tell us something!

It happened first when the napkin in the bread basket caught fire when it was too close to the candles on the table.

And the second time, the bag we were steaming the rolls in caught fire in a too-full oven.

- A tire goes flat and guests won’t arrive by the time the turkey comes out of the oven

- A much-wanted present is broken in transit

- A flight is delayed for the important few days together

- A traveling dog does not adjust well to a new location and her now-missing routine and surroundings (and, hey, she’d never vacationed before…and it can be stressful)

- The budget is blown as presents, exuberantly bought in the holiday fever, add up to far more cost than the buyers thought in the middle of the frenzy

And so…

You accept.

And then you adapt.

And then you recover your spirit of adventure.

And you make the best of what you have.

But it all begins at the beginning, when things start happening in ways they weren’t “supposed to.”

That’s right when you catch it.

Acceptance sounds easy enough to do, but it’s not.

Especially in the thick of the circumstances that most require it.

The first step to change is to acknowledge your circumstances as they really are.

Face the facts, quite literally.

Square up with them. Face them directly.

Sit with them for a bit.

Let them really soak in.

And be as OK with what is happening as you can be at the moment, for the circumstances aren’t going to change until you do.

Then, remember what you’re trying to achieve, in the grand scheme of things.

And know that in that grand scheme of things, your big goal can still all work out…just not quite the way you’d imagined it would.

Then do what you can to creatively adjust, using the resources you have and can conjure up.

You may find the solutions you create under pressure are fresher and more fun than the ones you worked so hard to “make” work…before you could see they didn’t, and wouldn’t.

Oh, and remember that dog visiting a new location, and not adjusting well?

It was our dog. And it was our daughter’s boyfriend’s house, where we were all gathering from various parts of the country.

The housemates who lived there had four cats, between them.

Yes, I know, I know.

We all wonder what we were even thinking, imagining that it would all work out easily.

But on paper it looked good.

The dog knew and accepted cats. She lived with and loved one as a friend.

And our daughter and her boyfriend had rescued a dog once that was so mellow that almost hoped its owner wouldn’t be found.

Weren’t all dogs like that?

Actually, no.

Not ours.

And so, when our golden retriever was following her retriever nose, she found the first cat’s hidden lair, under an upstairs back bedroom bed.

The cat fled down the stairs in terror, flew across the dining room, and scrambled up the window screen, dog racing closely behind.

The cat, having scaled the window screen, clung there until she was safely picked off.

And we, the various owners of the various pets, pow-wowed to try to figure out how to make the real life situation work.

I, for one, grabbed the leash and took her for a long, long walk to drain her anxious, excess energy off and give the others time to think.

And the dog?

For the rest of the visit, she wouldn’t go anywhere NEAR the stairs leading up to the hidden lair. It was intriguing, yes, but clearly FAR too dangerous.

Well, adventure aside, everyone survived, animals and people, too.

So whatever adventure your holidays bring, you will survive them, too.

The good adventure that will finally emerge, despite your well-honed plans all starts with acceptance.