Thursday, July 16, 2015

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

I've been between a rock and a hard place more than a few times in my life.  I'm actually there right now.  Nothing I do moves my life forward or backward.  When I try to move, I only seem to be hitting my head against another wall.  Being stuck between a rock and a hard place is just about the most frustrating place for an experienced problem solver to be.  I could blame the job market, the economy, my teachers, and my parents.  I could even blame myself and say that I was not being observant when my cheese was moving.  In the past I chose to be active rather than a passive victim to fate.  I am learning that being passive can be a sign of strength rather than victimhood and is sometimes interpreted as aggressive.

My initial response to landing between a rock and a hard place after being diagnosed with glaucoma and some sight loss when I graduated from college and became a newlywed was to decorate.  I had coasters that said, "Bloom where you are planted," and needlepointed "The Serenity Prayer."  Since I wasn't a plant and was rarely serene, the bloom on this solution quickly faded.

After leaving graduate school, I found other activities that moved me but not my life.  Instead of decorating, I was relocating, advocating, aggravating stimulating, and legislating.  Now I could hang out with other people who were also stuck between a rock and a hard place and be commiserating.

The most difficult strategy when you are between a rock and a hard place, and the one that will receive the most criticism, is waiting.  Where decorating permanently plants you in a place where you might not want to be, waiting leaves you with the hope that the rock and the hard place will one day be removed with or without effort on your part.  Waiting requires patience.  It requires letting go.  It requires time.

As you wait and develop more patience and persistence to meet your challenges, you will meet with criticism.  You will be tempted to do something, anything.  You learn by waiting and watching that movement is not always a sign of success because moving in the wrong direction is not better than staying where you are.  Waiting is the first step and the most important step according to the authors of Encore, a book for retirees who are changing careers.  Waiting gives you the time to discover what you want and what is best for you.  Once you have decided the direction you want to go in, waiting allows you the time to educate yourself and learn the new skills that will be required when you leave the valley.

People who are loving what is left while living with low vision and other chronic conditions can learn to appreciate the time between a rock and a hard place.  It is a safe place to grow, shed your old skin, and transform yourself.  It requires investigating options.  Many of these options such as decorating, relocating, advocating, aggravating, and legislating will stall if you waste time between the rock and the hard place by hating yourself, your doctors, agencies that are ignoring your needs, or God for “dealing you a bad hand” The best way to spend your time between a rock and a hard place is by creating a new and more interesting you.

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