Thursday, July 1, 2010

Adaptability Breeds Fulfillment

When hurricane Wilma blew through Southwest Florida in October of 2005 my family was left with no power for a couple of days. I felt lucky that nothing had happened to our cars, our home or to us. The days were cooler than is usual for that time of year in Florida, so we were able to grill outside and spend time in the pool. Kids were out of school and we spent the time reading, playing, talking and taking advantage of this impromptu vacation from the pressures of modern life. We had no generator, so I was unable to work on my laptop or do anything that required electricity.

Granted this was nothing like the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina or others like it, but it was a glitch in the usual state of affairs. I remember feeling lucky and relaxed those few days. Other families had been hit hard!

Some time after that I recall a conversation at a party with people from the neighborhood I lived in back then. Someone asked if we had been around for Wilma, and what the experience had been like. I was very surprised when a nearby neighbor said it had been awful!

“Oh, the kids were bored, we couldn’t watch TV, it was hot, we couldn’t cook … It was bad!”

I certainly did not remember it that way, and we were just a few houses apart! We have become so used to having commodities such as A/C, electricity, wireless phones, internet, etc. that when one of those is lost, we feel lost! Perhaps because I lived in the south of Spain where temperatures surpass the 100’s in summer and few houses have central air-conditioning, because I don’t jack up the A/C in summer, or simply because I do cherish the commodities of modern life, I actually enjoyed not having them for a few days.

In poor countries people make do with what they have – they don’t have to experience a hurricane to have no power, no hot water, let alone an internet connection!

Today a transformer blew in the neighborhood, and my plans for the day were suddenly intercepted. After all, I work on a laptop and use the Internet all the time for my work. But here I am, taking advantage of the couple of hours that my laptop battery will hopefully last. It’s getting hot, but it’s not unbearable. I’m grateful that I can write longhand on paper. I’m grateful that I can take a break from my own plans.

Adaptability makes for a much more enriching and successful life …

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