Growing up, my parents worked extremely hard, and my siblings and I were very fortunate. However, that nice life we knew came to a very abrupt and unsetting end in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina completely devastated my family, my home, and my community.
Literally in one day, that storm blew in and washed away everything I once knew and cherished. Someday, I’ll tell you the story in more detail, but the important thing I want to convey is that we adapted.
We lost so much but we didn’t lose each other, and for that, I am grateful. My family lives in a new city now, and we’ve rebuilt our lives. The scars of that storm still remain and might always remain, but each year we get stronger.
Each year, we adapt just a little bit more.
When I moved to the Caribbean, I wrote a post about how freeing it was just 6 days into moving there. I wrote a little about Hurricane Katrina and how I finally felt relief from the pain and sadness that it caused. This is still true, but moving to Grenada had its own set of adaptations.
I had to learn to be patient and run on “island time.” I had to realize that medical school would make marriage much harder than it was before. I had to figure out how to be more frugal, exchange currency, drive on the left side of the road, and hang clothes on the line.
All of this took time, and sometimes, I didn’t handle it very well. Sometimes, I just wanted to go home. And sometimes, I loved it so much, I really, really wanted to stay. It was all very confusing and most of the time, I grappled with these feelings on my own.
I find myself constantly adapting and moving through different phases the longer I live on the island.
Today, two years after moving to Grenada, I find some of these adaptations amusing. I’m visiting my family in Louisiana right now, and I’m especially struggling with the driving. Yesterday morning, I had to slam on the brakes because I pulled out of my driveway and looked the wrong way. I’m used to driving on the left side of the road now, so my brain is basically backwards.
Additionally, I find that my accent gets thicker the longer I visit family and friends in Louisiana. I’m also practically spoiled by all the central AC here. It didn’t take me long to soak in a hot bath (something we definitely don’t have in Grenada) and stroll through the outlet mall and take advantage of sales.
Obviously, some adaptations are easier to make than others.
Overall, I’m amazed when I look back at the past few years and think of all the changes I’ve made and then all the changes that happened to me. I used to envy people that grew up and stayed in their hometowns, comfortable and happy with their families, whereas I was forced out of my hometown – a place that I loved – due to a bizarre and one in a lifetime event. Now, 8 years after the storm, I am comfortable and even happy with the twists and turns my life has taken.
The point is, adapting can be a good thing. In many ways, it’s required so life can go on.
So, when you want to save money and can’t fathom cutting off the cable, I’m telling you right now – You can adapt.
When you want to accept that new job but it’s halfway across the country, I promise you – you can adapt.
If your loved one just passed away, and you can’t fathom being in any more pain than you are right now, one day, perhaps far away from now, you will adapt.
If you want to be a stay at home mom but you have to cut your bills in half to do it, go ahead – why not just try to adapt?
If you think you could never live without a smart phone, try doing it for a month and watch how you adapt.
If you feel like you have to upgrade your home to one with more bedrooms, why not just adapt and get rid of things instead?
I really feel that if we all just gave ourselves some wiggle room, a bit of fresh air, a running start, a flying leap, or just a willingness to try something new or to change what we already have, we really could do anything.
I’m not saying it will be easy, but moving forward in our lives and our finances relies on one thing and one thing only – adapting.
So come on, who’s with me? Let’s make a change for the better.