I love this picture so much, somedays I’m pretty sure adversity is my middle name!!!
From divorce to disability I have discovered that life will definitely throw you curveballs. As of this writing, I am 48 years old and I’m feeling pretty confident that I have encountered enough obstacles in my life to share some solutions.
Things happen that we don’t always have a plan for so we need to develop a plan on how to RESPOND to those uninvited hurdles.
As a mother of 3 young adult men I see how challenging it is for them to PLAN OUT their futures. What do I want to be when I grow up? Where should I work? Where should I live? Who is going to be my life partner? These are the bigger than their previous choices, like what sport should I join or who to take to the homecoming dance.
When I was starting in life, I had BIG PLANS to become either a teacher or perform on Broadway!!!! Unfortunately I learned early that my family was not wealthy and even though I worked hard in school, I couldn’t afford to attend the same schools as my friends. I got married young and divorced 7 years later. I found out I was pregnant with our second son right when my first husband decided to leave. The year after that, my Doctor told me I had 4 brain tumors and 4 spinal tumors. This diagnosis of Neurofibromatosis Type 2 was the beginning of my journey to becoming completely 100% deaf.
Figuring out how to live completely deaf has been my greatest challenge in life.
We don’t even realize how much we take for granted every day. Music was a HUGE part of my life. I had a music scholarship that helped me finish my first 2 years of college. Listening to music now, doesn’t really happen. Taking my children to the doctor and not being able to understand what she recommended I do in order to make them better was mentally debilitating to my TYPE A personality.
Just being able to pick up the phone to MAKE an appointment was impossible. How about running through a drive through??? That was a hoot. Not anymore!!! The really challenging thing is running into someone you know when out in public and trying to make small talk. I started noticing my usual extroverted personality changing and wanting to hide at home.
I did however get to finish college before I lost the remaining hearing thanks to being so poor I was able to secure a Pell grant. I received TWO business degrees from the University of Central Florida in Cost Accounting and Finance. I figured, being poor, that learning everything about money would be the best direction at this point in my life. What I didn’t understand was how painful it would be to not be able to answer a phone anymore or sit in a business meeting once I finished school.
I have learned there is a pattern in dealing with all kinds of diversity in life.
Here are 3 tips to help you through life’s twists and turns.
Step one: ACCEPT THE CHANGE
If you don’t want life at a stand still you need to just go ahead and ACCEPT the new change. There is one sure thing about adversity, CHANGE IS HARD. I’m not gonna sugar coat it. You probably already have figured this out by now. Just find a way to accept what is now your “new normal”.
Step 2: LEARN HOW TO ADAPT
Sign language became the change I started having a love and hate relationship with even though it made my life easier, I HAD to learn it. I was forced into this change. It made me mad that life was not as easy as before. I would tell people when you are born deaf you don’t realize what you LOST! I always knew how much easier things were WITH my hearing. I KNEW what the sound of a PIANO playing beautiful classical songs felt like during a stressful day. I enjoyed so many friendships that were quickly becoming nonexistent. I had to press forward in spite of my frustrations.
Even though I am still not fluent in sign language, technology has VASTLY improved. If you are not familiar with the Google Transcribe APP on an android phone (not sure if you can get it on apple yet), you might want to check it out. This app has become a LIFE SAVER for me. I use it daily for so many things. I have finally received one cochlear implant which has given me freedoms that I have not had in years.
Change is hard but if you keep pressing forward you will ADAPT!
Step 3: Appreciate your new life!
There are no guarantees in life except death. You might as well dry your tears and say thank you for another day. How you RESPOND and press forward is up to you. I’m not screaming for joy about being deaf, but I’m definitely not going to let it destroy my future!!!
As Vivian Greene so nicely put it, “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, its about learning how to dance in the rain.“
As a daily reminder to myself, “It’s time to pull up your big girl pants and don’t forget your cape.” Georgia Gould