Last week we received about six inches of snow. Enough snow for my neighbor to create this and many other amazing snow sculptures. This week temperatures are above freezing and the sun is shining hinting at spring. But we Chicagoans know better. Next week could be negative temperatures and more snow could fall or it could be sixty degree weather. There is a truth behind the old joke, “if you don’t like the weather in Chicago wait five minutes, it’ll change.” Anyone who has been in this area for any length of time finds that this adage is quite true. Last fall there were weeks when it was snowing at the beginning of the week and seventy degree temperatures at the end. Other times a beautiful summer day can turn to rain quite suddenly. A true Chicagoan does not believe the weather forecast more than a day or two in advance since the weather forecasts tend to change abruptly as weathermen try to keep up with the ever changing weather. Living through Chicago’s erratic weather has taught me a few things.
This Too Shall Pass
No matter how bad a storm is. No matter how much snow we receive. Give it a few days and the weather shifts into something new. This is also true of our lives. A car accident, health diagnosis, or relationship breakup may seem like the end of the world when they happen. We may only be able to focus on the incident and the pain or heartbreak it brings. We may think that this bad episode is all there is in the world. But the experience is only happening at a single point in time. It is an event, an instance, a moment. It is not permanent. It is not the end of the story. It is only a momentary passing. When we are experiencing a bad time, we can often find some solace in placing our trust in knowing that it will not last forever. On the flip side, when things are wonderful we need to take the time to be in the moment and enjoy it fully for alas, that too will change.
Nothing is Constant but Change
Change is so hard for so many. We often are lulled into a false sense of security because things were a certain way for so long. But life is change. Every season brings a change to our environment. The leaves budding on trees will soon bloom full in summer, change color, and then eventually fall harkening in the winter which will coat the tree limbs with snow. Things are constantly changing. We are constantly changing. Even though some things may appear to be consistent like having the same hairstyle for years, there is still change. Your hair is constantly growing and changing color with the sun and age. Nothing is ever the exact same way from moment to moment. Nothing lasts forever, and that’s ok. When one can let go of the expectation of consistency, we can move with ease into a world that is gently shifting to the new and the better.
Adapt to Change
A friend of mine in high school use to say, “Adapt or die your putzes!” Change can be more difficult for some because they are trying to handle the situation as they always have but the situation has changed. When summer turns to fall it is time to trade in our shorts for pants and a coat. If we do not make this change, we are bound to be cold. Trying to hold on to summer by wearing a tank top and shorts in November will only lead to a bad case of the chills. Over the past year I have lead some classes at the local library to help individuals who were recently laid off to find work. The individuals having the most problems moving forward are the ones expecting the economy to go back to the way it was so they can regain a similar position with a similar salary at a similar company. This will not happen. Although the economy may get better the economic landscape has changed. There is a sense of safety sticking to what we knew. But that safety is false. Be aware of the changing environment and find the strength to move forward.
As our winter months slowly change to spring, take a few moments to review what else is changing in your life. What is gone? What is new? What is emerging? Look at how you are acting. Are you holding on to things that are now over? Are you afraid to jump into the new? Do your best to accept the new reality that faces you. Accept it, embrace it, and uncover the best way to be in this ever-changing world. Trying to fight change only brings pain and hinders you from moving forward. And if things are not ideal for you right now, wait five minutes, it’ll change.