My mother, at 85, has a new mantra: Accept, adjust and adapt. Sure, it's simple. But it comes from a woman who was born between World Wars, lived through the Great Depression, married at 19, gave birth to twins before scheduled C-sections were a thing, survived my 20s and STILL can find a way to make positive changes to her life. If she's got a brand new mantra, I'm all ears. Here's how she describes it.
Accept - In the past few years, my mom has finally accepted she will never be a size 10 again. She will never wear heels, she might even need to walk, at times, with the assistance of a cane. She's coming to accept that her culinary skills, which have been a HUGE part of her identity, might be slipping. We all talk about accepting things, but do we really, really accept our limitations? I'm grappling with accepting that, at 56, working in a small market, I don't have the career choices I once had. It's a hard thing to accept the world is no longer your oyster. I can accept hot flashes; I'm told they won't last forever. But accepting the "forever" things - takes time and patience with yourself.
Adjust - How are you going to move forward once you've accepted your limitations? This is a pivotal point in the mantra - the center, the fulcrum. Lean one way and you will sink into the mire of lamenting what was and will never be. You've accepted it but will you move forward in your new direction? In my mom's case it was choosing to clear the closet of anything that no longer, and never would, fit. Pitching the heels to make more room for flats. Laughing when a recipe she used to make to perfection is, today, somehow off. She literally got rid of what she accepted no longer worked in her life. How will I adjust to my own career reality? I have some thoughts, but I have to get the "accept" part down first.
Adapt - So, you've made peace with where you are in life, you've chosen to rise to the challenge rather than staying stuck emotionally in the past. According to mom's wisdom, the third leg of the stool is to adapt to your new reality. Adjusting and adapting are similar, but subtly different. Adjusting is about making room in your life for change; adapting is living as a changed being. For mom it's walking directly to the right size rack, marching, albeit more slowly, right past the once-beloved heels, bringing more heat-and-eat meals home from the market. For me, I imagine adjusting my career perspective will lead to more clear direction on how I might spend the last 10 or so years of my working life. And, hopefully, peace.
What could you do with the wisdom of a woman who has earned the right to face life with with whatever attitude she chooses but who clearly embraces what each new year brings? Accept. Adjust. Adapt...enjoy.