Flexibility: it is so easy for some and so hard for others. When I was a child, I struggled so much when plans didn’t go according to schedule. Maybe I didn’t care so much if we ran one errand before another, but I would care greatly if we were supposed to go out for pizza and plans changed. If I had my heart set on pizza, I was greatly distressed if pizza didn’t come (I guess I still get distressed if I don’t get pizza, so, maybe that’s a bad example ~smile~).
As I grew up, and especially after getting married, I found that flexibility is a part of being an adult. Without it, you will spend a lot of time fretting over circumstances you cannot change or control. Granted, some people ebb and flow like the tides and can easily change their plans without feeling an inner angst. But there are others who become discombobulated if even one detail of their daily schedule is changed. It may sound silly to the more laid back population, but, for others, it can be a real nightmare.
The subject of flexibility came to mind this past week when two of my childhood friends and I went to the beach. With the three of us living in different areas and all having different schedules, getting a beach day together can be a challenge! After waiting for months for the blessed beach day to arrive, we pulled up to the beach just minutes before the bottom fell out of the sky – and this was no ordinary rain. It poured down hard!
My friends and I, along with one of my friend’s parents who went with us, huddled up under a small pavilion with all of the others trying to escape the downpour. It was chilly, gray, and the saddest excuse for a beach day ever. What made the experience somewhat funnier was the man who collected our money when we walked past the pier house… every time the sun peeked out for a second, he’d grab his money box and run outside to collect. I have since learned that rainy beach days are non-refundable. ~smile~
After sitting under the pavilion for a few minutes watching the rain, I realized how different this scenario would have been twenty years ago. I would be willing to bet any amount of money that my ten-year-old self would have been complaining and annoying the snot out of others in our party. But here we all were. Talking, sharing stories, laughing, and enjoying each other’s company.
Yeah, we looked longingly at the waves (so close we could touch them); however, life experience has taught each of us that little inconveniences in life are not the end of the world as we know it. We took a situation that was not ideal and we still enjoyed the day. Thankfully, after about 3-4 hours, the sun came out and we were able to salvage a few hours left of salt water bliss… bobbing up and down in the ocean!
If you haven’t learned a lesson in flexibility (probably by the end of your honeymoon), I can assure you that you will before your first anniversary. No matter how compatible you and your sweetheart’s personalities may be, you won’t always agree, and you will occasionally be inconvenienced by his or her life (e.g., dinner plans falling through due to working late, etc.). Be prepared to bend.
If your boyfriend or girlfriend goes out of his or her way to make sure you never have to be inconvenienced, please know that he or she cannot keep that up forever. Nobody can (or will) make life perfect for you twenty-four hours a day. If you are going out of your way to make sure your boyfriend or girlfriend will never have to be disappointed, step back and relax. You don’t want to create expectations that you cannot continue for a lifetime.
If you are with someone who is rarely ever (or never) willing to bend, don’t get married to him or her. Maybe he or she needs to grow up a little more; maybe he or she needs counseling to get to the bottom of why change brings him or her anxiety; or, maybe he or she is just inconsiderate and selfish. Whatever the reason, if that person is unwilling to show any flexibility, don’t tire yourself out trying to make his or her world perfect.
In the meantime, focus on what you can do in learning to become more flexible. I guarantee you, life will require it of you – now and in the future.
How flexible are you? Do you get agitated when plans don’t go your way? How about your significant other?