Adapting

Today, I started my day before the sun came up, chatting with a friend in Lebanon via Facebook.

A simple statement about an activity that is far from extraordinary in today’s connected world.

But this is me – who remembers not having a telephone when I first moved to New Mexico, because there weren’t enough lines in Lamy to connect everyone.

I’m grateful for having experienced that sort of unconnected living; I learned patience and trust and self-reliance and a number of other qualities important to building and sustaining relationships.

None of which negates my current pleasure at connecting over huge distances, easily, now.

I’m equally glad the contact today was via written word; I would have had a hard time dealing with spoken conversation in the attenuated form likely to occur at such a distance. This past week I’ve been dealing with clogged ears – not sure if it’s allergies or an infection that has caused blockage, noticeably worse on the left side.

How limiting it is, to be obliged to hold a phone to my right ear and therefore not be free to use my right, dominant, hand during the conversation. Oh, I’ve tried holding the phone across my body, with my left hand, in order to write down information being given to me. It’s possible, but remarkably uncomfortable!

I’ve also had to alter my eating habits. Why, you ask? Because crunchy foods are now painfully loud inside my head. If my condition were to become permanent, would I adapt, learn to tune out the chewing noise? Probably, in the same way I learned, shortly after arrival in Saigon, to tune out the persistent noise of the cicada-like insects that created a permanent background concert in the trees. We kids enjoyed tormenting new arrivals (as I was tormented) by calling attention to the persistent chittering, just at the time that the newbie’s brain was beginning to accommodate, and thus cease to notice, the sounds.

In the Trees

In the Trees

We humans are marvels of accommodation. We live in the most diverse environments, we survive extremes of privation, we come in such a variety of sizes, colors and skill sets. . . No wonder accommodating to one another is considered to be such a virtue.

No wonder, either, that learning when to draw the line, when to limit adaptation, when to say enough, I want/need/seek to stand apart – no wonder learning how to express one’s integrity can be a challenge. Especially, it seems, for women. Even today’s emancipated, modern women. My Lebanese correspondent was writing me on her smart phone, waiting in the Beirut airport to fly to Dubai for a work day. And questioning her right to step away from a relationship because she’s not yet ready to “settle” for. . .

Accommodate, adapt, be flexible, accept what is.
Go for it, “be all you can be”, make the most of your time, your talents, your opportunities.
Conflicting imperatives, challenging us to know which one to apply in which situations.

Is it yet another sign of our adaptability that we can implement both types of behaviors? Or is it a sign of our integrity that we manage to achieve a balance between seeming contradictions?

I have my own answer to that question. I’ll let you find yours.

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2 Responses to “Adapting”

  1. chelawriter Says:

    My friend attended United World College here, and was my ‘getaway’ for her two years (locals linked with students who can get away from school to private homes for a break), and yes, she is well educated and confident – and probably able to pull back from the relationship that doesn’t fully satisfy her. I’m less confident about a more local, more mature friend being able to do the same. Was on the phone with her for an hour yesterday, talking through some of her options.

    My hairdresser also has constant ringing of the ears. So far I’ve not experienced that distraction, just a sort of interior ‘music’ that is the spiritual current I attune to during my daily contemplation.

    Best of weeks to you also!

  2. Cheryl @ Artzzle Says:

    I don’t remember ever NOT having a ringing in my ears. It is like white noise to me, tolerable most times, unless a migraine or meniere’s symptoms join in as well.

    I hope your friend recognizes her right to retreat from that questionable situation. Granted, no relationship is flawless, but when serious questions and doubts prevail . . . best to back away, at least for a bit, to decide. Customs are very different with her background, but she sounds well educated and confident in other areas. Hopefully that strength will prevail in the personal situation.

    Have a great week.

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