Thursday, March 12, 2009

Living Life - Adapting vs Settling

Adaptability is a phenomenal asset. It allows us to change as our environment changes, and still flourish. Adaptability is a two-edge sword, though. Often, we may not notice when adapting morphs into settling for the way things are - inertia.

When I became disabled, my income dropped by 75%. I cut expenses. Plain pasta with a sprinkle of grated cheese became my daily meal. Clothing is rarely purchased, and only if my clothing is falling apart, and replacements can be found at deeply discounted prices. My home is kept dim to cut electric costs, with the drapes close because open drapes let out the air conditioning, or heat. I stopped going anywhere other than to the doctor; pharmacy; and grocery store because of transportation, and other, costs. I sensibly adapted to the loss of income, but at some point I went from adapting to inertia. I settled.

Enjoying meals was a distant memory. Eating became an annoying chore. My standard of dress became "street legal", i.e. I was suitably covered, without regard to my appearance. I memorized the layout of my home, but never looked at it, because the light was too dim to see it. I no longer had enriching, fun experiences. Living life became a vague memory that would sometimes surface in a dream. Existing became all encompassing.

Little things began to wake me up from my day to day existence. I realized I had blinders on to the possibility of other inexpensive food stuffs. I noticed that I would throw on any clothing, of any color and pattern, as long as I was covered up. Anyone who stopped by my home would say the same thing, "Why is it so dark in here?" I realized that while I had made necessary changes, I had forgotten to keep going, to keep living. It was worse than being in a rut, because I didn't see my life as being monotonous and static. The inertia was a blanket that seemed to keep me warm, but was actually smothering me.

When I truly looked at what my life had become, I was surprised. I had lost more than my income and my physical well being. I had lost myself. Overcoming inertia is difficult when one knows what needs to be done. Overcoming inertia while having no clue what needs to be done is baffling and frustrating. I do things to get back to living, so far with limited success. I used to think I was re-building my life. Now, I understand that I am building myself a new life, from scratch. The life plan I had before becoming disabled is no longer workable.
I'm feeling my way through a maze, and I frequently arrive at dead ends. But, I keep going because I don't want to adapt to existing. I don't want to settle. I want to get back to living.



  1. Your writing is beautiful!!! All that matters is that you saw where your life was going and you have now chosen a different path. I hope you can find joy and fun in your life now.

    I found this blog last week on $5 meals and thought you might like it. Good meals can be cheap.


  2. Thank you, Liz, for the compliment and the link to the $5 meal blog. I'm going to check that out.

  3. Found you via the Etsy Forum this morning. I must agree with the above comment, your writing is beautiful indeed. I know what it is like to overcome & live with a disability, so I applaud you for looking at life in a positive manner. My motto has always been to "never give up" as life is too precious. That is how I got my nickname "Rocki"

    Kudos to you!

  4. Thank you, Rocki. I checked out your blog, and I smiled as I looked through it. You are an inspiration!