February 13, 2011

Adaptability - Change Is Good

The human species is wonderfully adaptable. We have learned to live in a variety of climates, and under a huge range of cultures and conditions. We are able to survive the harshest, most brutal conditions, and come out on the other side stronger. When we have a higher purpose in mind, we find the strength to deal with anything.

Since we have been going harder on the low-impact life, Linda and I have instigated many changes, and others have been imposed on us (as tends to happen in life). In our pursuit to lower our ecological footprint, and live our dream we have had to remain flexible and open-minded. Change has been our constant companion, and we have been developing our adaptability tool kit.

Some of the larger changes in recent years that come to mind are:

  • moved from a large city to a small town
  • quit full-time work for part-time, contract, and casual work
  • reduced driving and other travel by 90%
  • became alcohol-free
  • switched from caffeinated coffee, to de-caf coffee, and recently to green tea
  • moved from a 1500 sq.ft. home to a 500 sq.ft. home
  • reduced our possessions by 70%
  • cut our budget by 50%
  • and in the biggest change of all, Linda has gone from being able to walk to using a wheelchair as her multiple sclerosis progresses
All of these changes have involved a certain degree of stress and discomfort. But what has amazed me is how we have happily managed to absorb everything into our lives like a big blob of protoplasm.

Not only have we managed these shifts in lifestyle, but after overcoming the initial fear and resistance, we have also come to enjoy them. They are exciting challenges - learning experiences - tests, if you will, of our natural human ability to adapt.

My dad always said, "Just living is a full-time job", and he was right. We have found that when you make your life your work, and continual improvement your goal, you can adapt to anything. And it can be done with curiosity and joy.

If the human species has proven anything over hundreds of thousands of years it is that we are  survivors. When pushed to the brink we adapt.

But we can also choose to take on the challenge before we get to the edge and are pushed. Change and adapt now while it is a choice rather than wait until it is a necessary requirement forced upon you by rapidly morphing conditions. That way you can enjoy it more, and feel good about being proactive rather than reactive.

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