It could be the most powerful weapon in the arsenal of one’s persona. As we grow, advance, progress and live, circumstances change – and we must be able to adapt if we want to achieve our goals.
I have spent a figurative lifetime refusing to adapt.
That’s correct – I only recently acknowledged the importance of adaptability.
For a long time – a very, VERY long time – I could not find the balance between adapting and retaining my true self. I relocated to another region of the country nearly a decade (wow – has it been that long?) ago and found myself surrounded by absolute foreigners. It appeared my views of America, religion, manners and matters like these were not shared across the nation. Some of the folks I met were proud to state they’d never left their home region, which made me feel as though something was wrong with them.
But I had never truly experienced a culture outside of my own. I’d likely be saying something just as silly if the tables were turned.
I was equally naive back then, as I actually believed my beliefs were shared by every American except those in this one particular part of America. I also believed my beliefs were better than theirs for that reason.
It was rather ignorant.
These days, I know better than to judge a person by his or her beliefs, no matter how different they are from mine and even if I believe they’re downright damaging to America. Folks in different parts of the country are taught different things by their schools, churches, parents and grandparents. End of story.
I HAVE ALWAYS had a filthy love affair with my home area of the country in the autumn. For years, I’d pay my pilgrimage with a September or October trip to western New York state for donuts, cider and walks in the woods, for this setting uncapped my imagination and released my spirit from the bondage of adult life.
But I didn’t make it up there last year. And I’m not going back up this year.
I have adapted.
This is now my home. This is the place my daughter knows, loves and wants to live. While I’ve spent her life looking for a professional, moral or romantic reason – even a reasonable possibility of such – to justify a decision to return, this is where we’ll stay.
I REALIZED MY ADAPTABILITY HAD ADAPTED the day it felt like autumn “back home” when I was in my South Carolina front yard. I realized adaption had adapted from embracing (not just merely tolerating) another culture’s ideology to feeling comfortable on the land. I can pick my own apples, purchase fresh cider and donuts if I drive a couple of hours away … but that won’t be necessary.
For the wind is constantly blowing now across upstate South Carolina. Leaves are falling, there’s a scent of wood in the air and I notice a chill that gets the job done when you’re used to 85-degree days less than a month earlier. They have football here.
Perhaps it’s taken my body 7 years to adjust to the heat.
Perhaps it’s taken me 7 years to stop comparing everything to WNY.
Perhaps it’s taken 7 years for me to adapt.
Whatever the reason, it’s good to once again experience fall for its duration. It’s good to be cold; it’s good to wear a coat. It’s good to be home.