Not for all of us, but for many. Here's what that looks like
I am supposed to be in a whole lotta pain right now. Had things gone as planned, my left foot would be in a cast and I'd be moving around the house with crutches or a scooter. Or a walker. I had all three.
That's not what happened.
Instead my bedroom is littered with a hundred things as I rush to pack for a month in Chile, a last-moment twist to take advantage of six weeks that opened up like a late fall flower.
Last Wednesday morning I was in a lavender paper gown getting ready for surgery. My body flat out refused to cooperate with the drugs I was given to relax me so that the nurse could put in the IV. For a variety of reasons that is problematic for me, but there's a protocol that works well...usually...that didn't work here.
Without going into details, suffice it to say that I came home instead, broke down the house that was all set up for recovery and loaded with food for weeks on end, and focused on what's next.
I had lots of choices. The surgery was now for November 30th, I had time. What on earth did I want to do? My left hand, recently released from its cast, was functional - albeit much weaker -for the first time in four years, my left foot doesn't hurt so horribly I can't do a few things...so. I went to work looking at options and making phone calls.
Twenty four hours after I had originally shown up in the surgery center I got a phone call from Unicorn Trails.
We just had a cancellation on the Atacama Desert riding trip. A spot is available at half price. Wanna come?
Are you out of your BEAN?
Within ten seconds I had paid for that trip, and not long afterwards had a flight. Suddenly I was leaving for a month, starting Monday morning at 3 am. I had two working days and two weekend days to research, plan, pack.
Having already packed my entire household into boxes because said house is for sale, I realized that some of what I needed for this trip was in those boxes. I had done a fair job of marking the boxes, but fair isn't good enough. I was left to open one box after the other, move all of them around all over the garage, and ultimately realize that while yeah, I own chaps, I couldn't find them.
That, and more than a few other last minute challenges, led to some fast moves ranging from driving to a tack store fifty miles away and making repeated trips to local camping stories for specialty items. I'm still not done.
Suddenly, having just come back from a month in Thailand, I am on my way out for a month in Chile. This time, I don't have to time over-plan. I have to get packed, photograph all my stuff for insurance purposes, weigh it, reduce it again, re-weigh it and try to get some sleep while in a state of VERY high anticipation.
While I am not in the middle of a career pivot -okay, well yeah I am but this is about the trip- this article brings up some interesting points:
While I find much of her article fairly simplistic, still she touches on some key issues which get in our way when we don't trust ourselves. My favorite line out of her article:
"The fear you’re feeling means you’re interested."
Yah. That combined with Steve Magness' line out of Do Hard Things that when we get frustrated, that means we're learning? Damn right. Double-damned right.
Honestly there are times that if you read an entire book and only get ONE line out of it but that life is a major light bulb?
Life does not deliver us what we want. We get what we need. The more we fight what's in front of us, the more we battle what is, and avoid what could be.
Perhaps better said is that the more we fight what is the more we avoid WHO we could be if we would stop trying to swim upstream. We aren't salmon. Our survival doesn't depend on fighting the currents and avoiding Bear 747 to live another day.
We have choices. One of them is to learn how to swivel in mid-air the way a cat does. You learn how to land on your feet and ready to move fast. Since we have no real control over our circumstances or our lives, and the only real thing we can control is our attitude about it, that is where the pivot begins.
Every single time I find myself in a knock-down-drag out fight to get what I think I want or need, I end up a combination of both seriously embarrassed and deeply humbled to realize that the Universe/Goddess/Great Pumpkin is doing its level best to move me where I am supposed to be. Invariably that is a much better place.
This time, while a few conversations at the surgery center didn't go well (I don't respond well to bullying, especially when it comes to the body that I live in, thank you), I was utterly delighted to be spat out the other end with the very best of fall- and in this case spring south of the equator- still in my grasp.
While I still grapple, not without damned good reason, with wanting to control various aspects of my life (Goddess in background, guffawing), the simple truth is that the older I get the easier it is to pivot like this. Travel is one of the best teachers. The last month in Thailand was full of pivots, and I had set myself up to fail in areas where now, given yet another month in a country where I have never been, I get to put to work precisely those commitments to being far more spontaneous that I didn't allow myself in Thailand.
The Goddess is nothing if not willing to shove us into life to get more practice.
Why pivot? Because first, it's good for your spine. Being flexible is good for your body, your mind, your sense of humor. Look around: America is full of angry, rigid, resistant, denying people utterly incapable of either pivoting or moving forward. As a result they are rotting in place, and poisoning everything and everyone around them because they cannot, will not evolve.
Pivot, or die, kinda. For when you and I are willing to shift, to move, to adapt, to learn, to admit defeat or failure, to grab the lesson and leap onto the next ride, we build unbelievable skills. Every time I resist, as they say, the issue persists.
The more I learn to move NOW instead of try to force things to be more comfortable for me, I lose.
I'm going to Chile. And, if something prevents that,I will pivot again. The more I do it the easier it gets. Quarantine, as I continue to explore, robbed a lot of us of some of those skills. I'm regaining mine, travel is my best practice. I invite you to find yours.
For in this deeply uncertain world, where war festers, threats loom, people are increasingly unpredictable, our ability to pivot is, to my mind, one of the best ways to survive, if not thrive. We live in the not-knowing. The sooner we can find a way to make peace with that, the easier it will be to pivot when we need to.
We will need to. Do need to. Just read the headlines.
With that, then, I'm going to go pack for Chile. I have no idea what's coming. But I'll be ready for it.
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