Newsletter 646 – Adjusting to Changing Circumstances

About a year ago my wife and I moved into a “retirement community for active, residents 55 and older.” One of my thirthysomething friends came to help us get settled and made an interesting observation: “This is a nice place but call it what it is. You live in an old peoples’ home.” SoMisfit 2on we learned that the average age is 84, several residents are over 100, and people close to 55 are nowhere to be seen. We had considered our move carefully, wanted to downsize while we could do it ourselves, undoubtedly made the right decision, and have no desire to leave. But the move stimulated our thinking about adjusting to life events and experiences that come at every age and often aren’t what we expected. Here’s part of what we’re learning.

  • Accept what comes to your life, even when you feel like a square peg in a round hole because you don’t fit. Acceptance does not always mean endless frustration or passive submission. We all know people with unanticipated health or career changes who may resist, but who rise to the occasion, accept reality, and mobilize themselves to adapt, thrive, and move on as best they can. God is not surprised at our circumstances. He creates at least some of them, and uses them for good.
  • Develop an attitude of thankfulness. My wife and I are blessed. For example, many of our neighbors have disabilities that we don’t have. We can go places because we have a car. Others do not.
  • Strongly resist complaining, self-pity, cynicism or bitterness. A lot of this starts in high school and college age years (or later), develops over time, and creates bitter old people that nobody likes.
  • Don’t withdraw. Some residents here have different beliefs, values, and attitudes than we do. Many have a backwards-looking perspectiQuotation 1ve. But everyone responds when we show friendliness and genuine interest. So let your light shine where you are. Remember the cliché: bloom where you are planted.
  • Keep fresh. I read broadly. I hang out with younger people, especially students, who are optimistic and like thinking about the future. Respect others, even of they differ from you.

Do you remember Winnie the Pooh? “What time of life is this?” Pooh could have asked. It doesn’t have to be your favorite time. But even tough times can have positive aspects, especially for Christians. What would you add to the above suggestions?

11 Comments

  1. Appreciate your thoughts as we transition out of a full-time donor supported missionary career into a self-funded life going forward. We downsized also to a 1250 square foot home and love it. I’m going to blog on some retirement issues I’m thinking about at http://www.ThriveMentor.com. Keep the good thinking coming while you enjoy life in your community!

    Reply

  2. “What would you add to the above suggestions?”
    Your advice should suffice nicely.
    Madame and I, in our 70s, have arranged to provide half-week care of small children, so we have no time to rot and stink.
    As an Asberger, I have never been fully welcome or comfortable in any age group in any of the countries where life took us, but have found that those normals who get angry with me often provide good advice for adjusting adequately.

    Reply

  3. I sure needed to hear this today, thank you. So far 2016 has brought a lot of change for me and my family and it’s hard to keep my attitude in check with all the adjusting and pivoting. I do also try to remember that God always has his hand on my life, no matter what happens.

    Sometimes we just need these little reminders. Have a great weekend!

    Reply

  4. Gary we moved into a 55+ when we moved to Calgary 3 years ago – it’s been wonderful. The population is ageing (as you’ve observed), but I guess so are we. I serve on the board of directors and posted the following Aviemore New-Year’s Commitment for 2016:
    BE A GOOD NEIGHBOUR
    Be —- Respectful and Considerate
    Be —- Tolerant and Obliging
    Be —- Kind and Amiable
    Be —- Hospitable and Companionable
    Be —- Pleasant and Generous
    Be —- Thoughtful and Unselfish
    Be —- Helpful and Friendly

    Greetings

    Mervin and Hildegard

    Reply

  5. I have very much enjoyed your personal, Gary, in this post as well as in the one about being a people developer. You live and model what you teach. That inspires me, thank you!
    Gabriele

    Reply

  6. Thanks, Gary. Life does bring unexpected challenges – obstacles or blessings; sometimes it is our choice. Miss the occasional “coffee and counsel” but so glad you are still (as always) connecting with students. You are and have been a blessing.

    Reply

  7. Hi Mr. Collins:

    I don’t often respond to the newsletters, mostly because I feel I don’t have something all that interesting to say. However, I do enjoy getting EVERY installment and the thinking I’m challenged with in the weekly writings!

    I’ve noticed though, I’ve not received any newsletters since this last one #646. I’m concerned things have changed either in the frequency of your blog or that something is amiss with things on my end from a technical standpoint. I also hope and pray you are well but perhaps may be taking a vacation.

    Either way, I do wish to continue receiving your blog/newsletter and hope this finds you well and in good form. If there was a notice of a break for whatever reason or that I was to respond if wishing to continue receiving blog entries, then I missed it. 😦

    Again, I hope you are well and may you have a very blessed Easter!

    Sincerely and prayerfully, Nancy Pippin myheartforworship@comcast.net

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Reply

  8. Hi:

    I am concerned about not getting the weekly blog or newsletter since the first week of March. Has something happened? Can someone let me know if there has been a change I the frequency or if the blog has been ended?

    I hope everything is okay

    Sincerely,
    Nancy Pippin

    Reply

  9. Dear Gary!

    I have not received you blog letter for some time. Wondering if I missed something. Would love to be in touch.

    Reply

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