Managing Inclement Conditions: What’s the Forecast for You?

It is cold here in Washington! Icy, arctic, and frigid. Bone chilling cold with the forecast for more of the same over the next several days. Now, while it’s true that Washingtonians love to whine and overreact about their weather, the fact that this Polar Vortex Redux is so out of the ordinary and prolonged means that we need to do more than bleat and bellyache: we need to readjust to current, uncomfortable conditions and get on with the business of living.

 

Ever since I left my life back in the perfection that is Santa Barbara and relocated to DC, I’ve had to adjust to less than ideal conditions. This has not always been easy. While it’s true that I’m a Capital City native and there is much about this wonderful town that’s familiar to me, I was away for a long time; and, it was during those years, I became an adult. In my absence, Washington changed a lot, too. So, in many respects, the city and I are strangers to one another.  The DC I knew was a place for a person I am no longer.

 

Re-booting is a hard enough process as it is, but to re-boot in a place that’s quasi-familiar lends itself to many trapdoors and inaccurate assumptions that make it trickier to negotiate than if I were to move to, say, Kansas City or Toronto or somewhere utterly foreign, where my life really would be tabula rasa. Instead, I find myself reverting to all sorts of faulty, hardwired expectations: that it takes 15 minutes to get anywhere in the city, that it’s far less populous than it actually is, and that those of us whose professional experience doesn’t originate in Washington will be perceived as having something valuable to offer. Wrong on all counts.

 

While my life readjustment process from West Coast to East is dramatic and highly visible, yours may not be so obvious; still and all, if you wish to remain sane and move forward in a constructive manner, you, too, must re-boot. But, what does this mean for you? Which parts of your life are you willing to adjust? How much compromise of your goals is required in order to retain the parts of your life you cherish while providing the room and flexibility for you to pursue those new elements you so desperately wish to pursue? We don’t get everything we want, but we can attain some of the things that are important to us. Somewhat akin to living with this bitter cold, how much are you willing to work around in order to “get out there” and engage in fulfilling activities? Or, do you prefer remaining housebound rather than summoning the will to unpack your winter gear, negotiate the occasional icy sidewalk, and head out? Which choice are you making?

 

What I have learned about this business of forced adjustment and compromise is that the entire process goes way more smoothly once I recognize that my willingness to embrace a different way of thinking about things—thus relinquishing my old operating manual of assumptions—makes all the difference. For example, my job search process will be made easier if I simply find a way to work around the fact that employers in DC don’t care what experience you gained outside of the District. I may consider this a stupid and arrogant belief on their part, but acknowledging the fact that this is how they operate now means I can devise another strategy to achieving my goal of finding employment. Their attitude is beyond my control and I can’t do anything to change it. It’s inconvenient, it’s a pain in the ass, it requires me to do something I’d just as soon not do, but it’s the only sure-fire way of ensuring I make progress towards my goal of finding a job here in Washington. So, let’s focus on you now. You’re the one who’s uncomfortable about X,Y, or Z in your life. You’re the one who has the nagging, steady urge to do something else.  Something you’re not doing today. So, what is it? How do you get there from here?

 

Things don’t always work out the way we expect or want. People change and we don’t necessarily embrace the direction they’re headed. Much to our confusion and personal dismay, we find we now want different things than what we’ve built up and based our lives on up to this point. What, then, must we do?

 

It’s similar to the frigid weather DC is experiencing—unwelcome developments that we must adjust to in order to move forward. We do not let the cold define us.

 

The point of this blog post is to get you thinking about how you might ameliorate a chronic challenge in your life. What (or who) is it that continually bugs the $%*!@#$%! out of you? If you don’t find a new way to think about this problem, it’ll only fester, so you need to adjust how you handle it. The cold returns every winter, but I make it worse when it dictates what I do.

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2 Responses to “Managing Inclement Conditions: What’s the Forecast for You?”

  1. Jim Patterson Says:

    Good

  2. helenga Says:

    Yet another good post! Reminds me of what my Mom always told me…you can light a candle or curse the darkness.

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