People who have lost their houses and cars and everything they’ve worked for all their lives may feel like giving up. Some do. After 30 or 40 years they don’t feel like they have it within them to rebuild and try again. Some have no choice but to live the life they’ve been handed. Financially they don’t have an option.
I was sitting in a hotel lobby in Pikeville, Kentucky last Sunday talking to FEMA workers preparing to go to areas devastated by the East Kentucky floods. One of the men said, “We are trying to get everyone registered. There is some assistance available but it is small and limited in comparison to what they need. These families have nothing. They have lost everything. Many of them have no means to rebuild what they have lost. ‘Sadly,’ he said this is their new normal.”
We all face and deal with the “new normals” of our lives – aching knees, the death of a spouse and the loss of friends who have moved or died. Financial changes and health challenges force us to learn how to reset our lives.
Resetting life is easier said than done. Too often, all we have is the energy to stare out the window, if we have a window.
Life’s disasters set us back. Mentally, physically, relationally, and financially such an event may require another lifetime of building your life back, if you have a lifetime. Your lifetime may be five or ten years, and if you are lucky your lifetime will be more. It’s certainly a little easier to try to climb back up the mountain at the age of 35 than at 65, but to some extent you can if you have the will and physical ability to do so.
There is a time in life when you either quit or dramatically change gears. You don’t feel like standing and teaching a class another ten years. You can’t go back into the coal mine another five years. You’ve stood in the assembly line for 35 or 40 years and you are done. There is nothing wrong with withdrawing from one life you enjoyed and resetting to do something else. This could simply be fishing, golf, traveling, walking by the river or local lake, or sleeping late every morning and enjoying your coffee late in the day. There’s nothing wrong with that.
An old Apostle Paul had been through a lot in his life. Shipwrecked, stoned and left for dead, escaped being murdered, whipped cruelly and placed in a jail cell. His life was often far less than glamorous. He once said, “Let us not get tired of well-doing, we will reap a harvest if we don’t quit.”
Many years ago, a friend of mine restarted his life at the age of 50. He had nothing to show for his years of work and life. Old age was looking grim. He and his wife found an old abandoned hamburger stand in a small town. He rented the building for almost nothing and cleaned it up and he and his wife worked 12 hours a day for the next 17 years and he retired with a couple of million dollars in the bank. Even this would be out of reach for many today but keep in mind that if you have the mental wherewithal to think it and the physical stamina to put it into action, you can reset your life and try again.
Your current normal doesn’t have to be forever – if you don’t quit.
Dr. Glenn Mollette is an author and his column is published in over 600 publications in all 50 states.