By Shay Stinson
There are many valuable lessons we can pull from the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020. One important lesson is that change is inevitable. The process of change can be very abrupt, but it can also be subtle. With reflection, we see many things that have changed throughout our life. What you did one day will not always be what is done tomorrow. Abrupt change is the most uncomfortable change we experience and is what probably comes to mind when we think of change. For adolescents in foster care, change can be even tougher because they’re already going through so many changes and it’s happening all at once! When we’re prepared, those changes that are abrupt change can be easier to handle. We all can pull some very valuable warnings and preparation techniques from the events that have taken place so far in 2020, but these lessons are especially imperative examples for youth in foster care, especially if they’re aging forward.
“… Accept the things you cannot change…”
There is an old cliché that says, “Hindsight is 2020,” which means you can see and understand things differently only after they’ve happened and not before. So, let’s reflect and see what lessons you can take as you age forward and submerge further into adulthood. Of course, the first lesson about change is that you cannot stop it. It happens with or without your permission.
A great tip to accepting change is to embrace that it will happen. As a young adult, you are responsible for your responses to change. When a toddler gets a meal choice he wasn’t expecting, a response may be a tantrum. If we are “adulting” correctly, there are no tantrums. Sure, you can be upset about change, but it’s how you display that you are upset and manage your feelings is what will make the difference.
“… Courage to change the things you can …”
Being prepared for change as much as you can is a tried and true method for dealing with change. In the “Hindsight is 2020” view of things, there are several ways to be prepared for major change. One way is to stay ahead and organized.
For instance, there are still many people that may have expired driver’s licenses, unpaid property taxes, and unfinished business at the bank. Once this coronavirus crisis kicked into full gear, state and local business offices across the nation closed until further notice. Now that everything is slowly re-opening, the processes are different. There are long waiting lines and alternative procedures for taking care of things. This can cause undue stress and anxiety. The best advice here is to stay ahead of tasks. If it can be handled early, take care of it. You never know what tomorrow may bring.
Being prepared for change is a technique that can be used in all areas of life. Some examples that a young adult may experience are paying ahead of schedule, maintaining regular car repairs, keeping household supplies stocked, and keeping regular medical appointments. Procrastination is dangerous and it can put you in a position to have many hardships in the event of an unexpected change.
“ ….Wisdom to know the difference.”
There will be many things you can change, and many that you cannot. Life happens quickly and, as a young adult, you may benefit greatly from the wisdom of decision-making skills. During the COVID-19 crisis, many people have become unemployed, some people are facing food shortages, and some are having to increase their debt just to make ends meet. This is the part of life where you “pull your bootstraps up” and use your resources and wits to find safe paths to success. In the event of a major and unexpected change, you may not be able to stay on a certain course of action. Wisdom usually comes with experience. Don’t beat yourself up when change occurs, and you feel unprepared. Continue to move forward.
You can do this! Adulting is hard, especially when we realize that there are some things that will happen that are out of our control. Learn from every failure and you won’t fail ever again—at least not in the same way, and that’s growth.
The Serenity Prayer
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” – Reinold Niebuhr
In addition to the above tips, when you face an unexpected change, you might try reminding yourself that you will find a solution. Use calming techniques and maybe even a verbal mantra. “The Serenity Prayer” is a well-known verbal mantra, used frequently by spiritual people. It reminds us that acceptance, courage, and wisdom are within reach and reminds us to ask for help when needed.