Challenges & Unexpected Growth Opportunities

I’ll admit, I’ve become accustomed to my routines, even ones that didn’t make sense. In some ways; I had become like the proverbial hamster running around on the wheel.  Yes, I’m technically ‘retired’ from being on the treadmill of working full-time, but I still enjoy and need a certain amount of structure, as do all of us.  Sometimes I need a few unexpected challenges to pay attention to the small stuff and make appropriate corrections. I think such challenges also offer new growth opportunities –not a bad thing.

No Time to Ignore a Flood

When I got our water bill last week, I was surprised that it was about $30 more than usual. I looked at the water usage–it was up from this time last year. I assumed the increase was a result of the exceptionally dry weather and high heat.  Then last Friday afternoon, the next-door-neighbor came over and told us that she noticed a “waterfall” gushing into her yard from under our fence. Sure enough, when we examined our sprinkler system hose, we found a huge leak that we quickly repaired. But then we noticed a larger problem. I could hear water gurgling from our sprinkler control valve. We realized that we needed help, and there was one person in the community we trusted to do the job. But first, we had to do some fence-mending. Earlier in the year, a misunderstanding had occurred between us and the sprinkler professional. Because he was in our community, we ran into him regularly, but the exchanges were awkward. When we called him about the valve problem at the beginning of the Labor Day weekend, he came over immediately, worked late into the evening, and then half of Saturday. He worked incredibly hard. My husband assisted him however he could. By the time he left, our sprinkler system was working as it should, and we had renewed a positive relationship with a valued community member.

A Hostage to Technology

Sometimes I think challenges come it bundles because that is what we need. Late Friday night, I updated my website –one that I had developed and then expanded over the past 18 months. I didn’t realize that I needed to pay for backing up my files with my web host. On Saturday, I discovered that my page menu, my page formating, and three of the different blog formats that had been developed were gone. At first, I was very frustrated, upset, and a little depressed. I tried to contact the original web developer with whom I had worked, but he was no longer in business. The one thing that helped me move forward was to look at the challenge as a learning opportunity. I spent Saturday and Sunday reading, experimenting, and learning what I could about my website. I was able to get a basic menu back up on my site–not as pretty as the original, but a start. After I thought about my website a bit more, I realized that I had created far more work for myself than I really had intended. My original web developer had questioned why I wanted to maintain for blogs as well as a Youtube link. I thought I could handle it. I did try to keep up with the work I had created for myself, but it was more than I really wanted to be doing. I was also writing for other blogs for a while as well. Now I only have one blog. I can focus on the areas that are most important to me–positive aging and addressing ageism. I am also freer to devote more time to working on a book that I am writing about how women 50+ can address ageism using strategic communication. Life involves constant changes. Thinking of aging in positive terms as a way to continually learn and grow can give us renewed confidence as we face challenges.  

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