“Hummingbird Alert!” announced my husband as he walked into my office. “What?”, I thought. It’s only March 31st. We still have the markers up along our driveway to guide the snow plow driver, clinging to the hope that we’ll receive the big snow storm that never came during this crazy winter. It’s way too early for the hummingbirds – we usually don’t see them until late April.
There’s no doubt that we are seeing shifts in the long established patterns of weather and nature. No matter the cause, change in the norm can be unsettling at the least, and oftentimes frightening. Let’s face it, few of us handle change very well. Yet that is the nature of life – things change whether we want them to or not.
So how to respond? I will admit that I am one of those Vermonters who bemoaned the absence of winter – not because I’m a big skier (I’m not) but because I worried about the bigger picture. What does this bizarre weather mean? It scared me to think about. I had two choices – embrace the upside, those less frigid days and lower heating costs, or panic about some unknown future.
Those same choices are offered to us as we consider our unfolding lives in our 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond. There are many uncertainties about work, finances, and health – no matter how hard we might try to control things. Yet imbedded in the uncertainty of the things we can’t control are the unexpected gifts and pleasures that await us if we keep our eyes open.
A dear friend in her 60s lost her job and struggled – like many – to find a new one. As a result she accelerated some aspects of her retirement plan and now she and her husband live in a wonderful home in a new state, near her children and grandchildren, AND she has a wonderful new job she just loves. In the face of panic and worry she nonetheless plugged along with what she could control and is now embracing the gift of this unexpected and energizing new life path.
Not all aspects of unexpected change are bad. I’ll remember that as I set up the hummingbird feeders to welcome my returning friends.