“The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft a-gley, [often go awry]” — an oft-quoted line from the poem “To a Mouse,” written in 1785 by Scotland’s Romantic Poet, Robert Burns
Indeed, life is such that you can never be totally certain everything will turn out the way you have wanted it to be, for
Life is an adventure
Whatever its course,
At each bend, at every turn,
There’s a hurdle to leap
And some of those hurdles you meet may come in unexpected events in your life which you may be ill-equipped to deal with– like a sudden illness, or death in the family, or a change in relationships or jobs/workplace; whatever, the unexpected occurs; the anticipated doesn’t happen, or not according to plan.
Life is not complete without the changing seasons, and we know that things do happen out of season as well. Just observe the many climate changes the world is experiencing today.
So how do you deal with these unexpected turn of events in your life? As people are different in the way they handle changes — some are better than others at coping with surprises that life throws at them — there are also various ways of facing them.
Here are three ways of dealing with changes I personally observe:
1. First, you must be ready to accept the change, and embrace it for all it is worth, including your fear and anxiety over what is going to happen in the near future.
2. You can look at any change in your life as a reflective, learning moment, for one thing is sure: change always teaches a lesson. You can look back, ask yourself what you did, or what went wrong, and focus on how to correct and make things better. Or you can just reflect on it as a natural part of the rhythm of life.
For example, if you somehow find yourself unable to work due to a sudden illness or health condition, it may be a call to live more in the present, and to not worry too much about tomorrow. Most illnesses, according to medical studies, are caused by too much stress, thus weakening our immune system.
It is time to “stop by the roadside and smell the flowers” — indeed, life is too short, and so precious to just let it pass us by. We need to balance between ‘hurrying’ and ‘staying in the moment’…between doing and being.
I remember my tendency in the not so distant past to always move about quickly, and hurrying through the myriad of tasks at home, and in school. So perhaps, this physical pain that I now have — an unexpected happening in my life, is such a reminder for me to slow down, not just in a physical way — but rather, in a more spiritual way to appreciate each moment as I lose myself in it, freeing my mind of any disturbing negative thoughts, as I try to make the most of this new pace as I live in transition.
3. Finally, you focus on and gather your inner and outer resources: your innate strength, sense of adventure, optimism, and most of all, your faith; your family and other support groups like your closest friends.
Believe that you have the strength to carry on; take it as an adventure. Just like me now — due to my present disability, I have to stop classroom teaching and continue to teach online. I also have taken up an online writing job, both of which I hadn’t anticipated I’d be doing.
Look forward to each new day; it may not be easy at times, but just flow naturally with the ebb and tide. Open your heart to the blessings of a new day, new hope, and soon, everything will be much easier to bear. More so, if you have faith: in yourself, in the people around you, especially your loved ones, and in God, then life still remains as beautiful and blessed as ever, and you emerge a stronger, better person.
In the end, it is all about being positive about change. You cannot control everything that happens in your life, but you can do much to withstand the challenges that change brings.