Across the world, humans are living through a period of extraordinary changes with jobs lost, businesses closed, graduations cancelled as well as weddings and vacations postponed. Familiar routines involving work, exercise, studies and weekend recreations have been tossed out of the window!
Moving forward there is more uncertainty in the horizon. We don’t know if those jobs will come back, when schools and colleges will reopen, when we will be able to hug our grandparents or see faraway friends and relatives. Trauma and upheaval are coming at us from all sides and no one can predict when it will let up.
Its a lot of change to get used to all at once and its not static…thus at present it seems adaptability may be our best asset to nurture.
But what if its not in our individual nature to be adaptable? Then can it be a learned skill? Adaptability is often seen as a personality trait, some people are more adaptable by nature so in the current unpredictable world we see some people taking the changes in relative stride while others are struggling. However in my opinion I think of it as a skill because people have started to work from home, people have adapted to Zoom meetings and Google meets as well as online education. Whether we wanted to or not…that is the reality at present…and we had to do it.
Accepting the uncertainty of the future means planning one step at a time, we have to let go of the need to plan from A to Z and learn to be okay with planning from A to B….after all by the time we get to B, things already may have changed….just ask anyone who postponed their May vacation to October or probably December!!
Just as we must accept that the future is unknowable we also must examine our own thinking regarding why we believe what we believe. When it comes to crisis or change most of our preconceived notions about ourselves are negative…I can’t do X job because I am not outgoing… I can’t work from home because I need more structure… when we detach ourselves from our stories and really look at them we can start to see the gaps in logic, the fears based beliefs that are driving our thinking.
Adults are not the only ones having to do a lot of adapting, lately children who thrive on routines have their worlds turned upside down as well.
We all are practising adaptability for some time now, 6 months ago if someone said we are going to shut down your world and you will have to stay indoors with the same people for an indefinite time period we would have laughed at them… virtually we have all done that and have learned to be okay with it.
Children have benefitted also, they have learned to cook with their parents, they are getting some extra time for themselves. The ability to accept change rather than shutting down in the face of it is a skill we all have nurtured unconsciously.
The pandemic has been a global experiment in discomfort. It hasn’t been easy for anyone….learning to be comfortable with being uncomfortable is what will get us through it.