In the spirit?

Make the setback your set-up. Turn the lemons into lemonade. Look for the silver lining.

Have I missed any? I’m sure I have.

There’s no shortage of aphorisms about not letting a disappointing turn of events ruin everything that comes after it. Why do we need so many? Because we humans tend to get stuck.

We’re big fans of our expectations, and we like to cling to them, no matter what reality has to say about it. We’ll hang out all day waiting for events to course-correct for us, and head back in the direction of our plans, which is not unlike waiting for a cake to unbake itself. I mean, you can. Personally, I’d rather eat the cake.

Which leads me (believe it or not) to life in August 2020. If you’re a student (or a teacher, or a parent), this is the moment where a strange possibility firmly ingrains itself as a strange reality. The first day of school is not what you may have signed up for months ago. It doesn’t look or feel at all like you envisioned. But, you’re here, and it’s happening. So, what now?

Eat the cake. Metaphorically, obviously. It may not be the shape or flavor you thought it would be. You may event be suspicious about whether it’s actually a cake at all. It is, though. Try it. You’ll see.

We talk a lot around here about how life is full of twists and turns and unexpected detours, which it is. However, there are also moments when things go exactly as they’re “supposed to,” and the treadmill of time keeps us moving along. We look back and wonder, did I do it right? Did I make the most of the moment? Did I see the opportunities that were there, or was I just half-asleep, waiting for time to pass so the next-best-thing could arrive?

This is a moment when time has both folded itself up and stretched itself out for us. It’s impossible to feel like you life is in a state of inertia during 2020. Nothing is exactly as it was, or “remotely” like we thought it would be.

So what is it instead? Drop the filter of expectations, and see it as it actually is. Find an upside that’s actually there, and cling to that instead. Once you see one, it’s hard not to see them all.

“We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” ~ Joseph Campbell

Photo credit: Gift Habeshaw

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