Adapting to Change and Accepting Limitations

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Egrets and Mangroves

Egrets and Mangroves, 14 x 18 acrylic on canvas, in barnwood frame

Life has a way of filling in the blanks. Or a better way of saying it: if there’s a void, something will come along to fill it.

In my younger days, it was children that kept me from going back to school and lack of money. By the time I was 25, we had one baby, a toddler and a preschooler. Two years later, we had one more, and four years later another.

We had children in elementary school, middle school (then called Jr. High) and High School. When the oldest two went off to college, we added another child. We were so busy paying for music lessons and athletic activities, in addition to college, there was still no time or funds left over for me.

Egret-Reflections

Egret Visits Goldfish Pond, Oil on canvas (SOLD) Prints available.

So I began working to supplement our income. In the beginning I worked as a writing consultant and freelance writer. My empty hours were filled as quickly as each child left the nest. Eventually a divorce made full-time employment for health benefits mandatory. I still had two children at home so how could I go back to school?

Although, some people do, I couldn’t leave my children alone in the evenings when I was gone all day at work. Somehow we managed and my resume grew.

It is difficult to juggle schedules and the challenges that face us each day. The only thing in life that’s predictable is change. Nothing ever stays the same. We’re either going forward or backward. If there is a lull in momentum it is brief. A crisis, an accident, health problems, or a death jars us from our complacency.

Moonlight Magic

“Moonlight Magic” 14 x 11 Acrylic on canvas

How do you cope? You keep putting one foot in front of the other. You keep going. Whatever you do, don’t quit! In giving up, you allow circumstances or others to take control of your life, and your freedom, and things usually go from bad to worse.

As the arthritis in my hands worsened, my fingers will spasm and freeze up so I can’t type. How do I make up for lost time? I don’t. Of necessity, I simply have to give my hands a rest. Now instead of two blogs a week on each of my three blogs, I can manage only one each. I’ve lost some readership, but I still get to write and create.

Since my fingers are curved and swollen, my artwork and painting has suffered. I have difficulty making a straight line. But because of this I’ve been forced to make swift easy motions and more fluid compositions. When I do portraits, I leave a focused brush stroke and don’t fuss over it. This makes my work look fresh and invigorated, so either way it’s a plus!

This past year I’ve had other health problems: IBS/gastritis and gallstones. After surgery, I’m still having problems that have caused me to lose 15 pounds. Loss of energy and time has eaten into my creative hours. I won’t bore you with anymore of my sad stories. The point is that we all deal with problems.

You’ve probably seen the St. Jude’s hospital and Shriner’s hospital commercials. The obstacles these kids overcome each day and the mountains they climb just trying to feed themselves, to walk, to speak are enough to make our complaints and problems seem like child’s play.

What do these remarkable human beings do and with a smile? They adapt. They learn to use the parts of themselves that do work to do the things they can’t. A child born without arms uses his feet like hands. Another child, whose legs were amputated below the knee because of cancer, is now proudly walking with prosthetic legs. These children don’t see limitations. They see opportunities. Rather than whining and complaining, they have learned to adapt not to what was but to what is.

We can all take a page from their experiences. When all else fails – adapt, and adapt, and adapt!

The beautiful Limpkins were back at the lake this morning. Their habitat is being eaten away, but they will not be deterred. They are foraging at our pond and have probably found a new home. They readily adapted to change!

limp_2010-04-21_3102

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