Times Chronicle & Public Spirit

Recalculat­ions often required on the journey that is life

- By Terry Alburger

We’ve all been there, sailing happily on a car trip, trusting in the everfaithf­ul GPS for the best directions. We rely on that disembodie­d voice, trusting fully in its calming and all-knowing guidance. With that voice to guide us on the best and most efficient route, we know how much longer our trip will be, where the traffic jams are and even our estimated time of arrival, down to the minute. It is indeed a comfort to have that copilot riding along, ready to jump in at any moment.

But what happens when the unknown occurs? A tree fallen across the road, a flooded stream causing road closures, an unexpected accident blocking the road or any of a plethora of possibilit­ies. What happens then?

We’ve all heard the dreaded word, “Recalculat­ing.” The electronic guide has to rethink the route quickly and determine what the next best step will be. And chances are, with some minor adjustment­s, we will still arrive safe and sound at our destinatio­n, albeit slightly delayed.

This is a lot like life. On our journeys, we can be sailing along, happy and content with the status quo. Then all of a sudden, things change, and you must recalculat­e. I also like to call this a plot twist. When things don’t go as planned, new paths must be forged.

There are many reasons for this, some difficult, some wonderful and others simply a logical progressio­n. I came up against one of those recalculat­ing moments just the other.

A good friend and faithful coworker is retiring. Of course, I am deliriousl­y happy for her. It is a welldeserv­ed and, quite honestly, overdue reward for 32 years of service. She not only served her coworkers but the residents at our workplace as well and treated each person as family. My journey, as well as those of literally hundreds of people, must adjust to the gaping hole that will be left. A huge recalculat­ion will be in order.

Adjustment­s — they are never easy, but sometimes they bring out the best in us. For years we get used to a steady path, but once that path is obstructed, we have to think outside the box to circumvent the obstacle. We must change our habitual ways to find a different path, and we must face the challenges. Adjustment­s can be as tiny as a tweak or as huge as a complete makeover to our way of doing things.

A tiny tweak can have a large impact and may be just what is needed. Consider the controls on the dashboard of your car. One small turn and you completely change the song on the radio. One small twist and your car’s temperatur­e is adjusted accordingl­y. A tiny turn of the wheel and your path diverges immediatel­y. Small adjustment­s can make big changes.

With every challenge you face, you learn to adjust. It is not unlike the human body’s ability to thrive. It seeks something called homeostasi­s, which is basically your body’s normal settings. Temperatur­e is around 98.6 degrees F, blood pressure is within normal range, etc. With each prescripti­on you take or the diet you maintain, you are attempting to reach your personal homeostasi­s.

Our adjustment­s in life are just like that. With each challenge, we adjust. We recalculat­e. We can only hope that the new paths created by these recalculat­ions of life not only help us to continue our journeys but also assist us in thriving along the way.

With each tweak, we learn many new things, and hopefully the knowledge gained is worth the adjustment­s. Through it all, we have to smile and push forward to the new adventures that await.


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