How resilient am I this year?


Ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.
— Merriam-Webster

The one question I would ask you to consider is, "How resilient was I this year?" It may require reflecting on some unpleasant events, but it is not a bad start to building your ability to "recover from or adjust easily" to whatever happens. No matter how uncomfortable a situation may have been, the fact is that you are still here and able to remember it, which means you survived. Congratulations, you cannot survive something and learn nothing. You are wiser and more experienced now.

Now the next step could be to re-write the story about how you handled it in the best way possible, factoring in all you know now. Alternatively, you could simply write an epilog that reveals how good came from "bad."

Last March, I became a proud new homeowner of an apartment in Westchester County.  It turns out home ownership was not only all a bouquet of roses.

I share my moments when my resilience was strengthening:

The apartment needed work.  The pre-WWII plumbing took weeks to fix, and I was eager to cover those olive green walls with fresh coats of white. Upgrading required long hours of work that was sometimes back-breaking, but with some help from my father, most of the painting got done -- including the ceilings, which was no easy task. All that painting and now I can proudly show my friends how I became a semi-professional painter.

A few days ago, I noticed a bump growing on my bathroom ceiling. Expecting it to be full of water, I held a pitcher under it and sliced it open. Just a few drops of yellowish-brownish water fell, and of course, I jumped to the worst: this is sewage water, and now we might have to tear out more plumbing. After inspecting my apartment and my neighbor's above, the superintendent assured me that it was clean water that had filtered through the floor/ceiling and was merely residual from an overflow two floors above.

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t turns out all I had to do was spackle and paint. Again. My immediate thought was, why should I do it again? When I moved in, there was water damage on the ceiling that I had to fix. It would be the second time in about six months. My thoughts went on to how many more times will I have to do this? I had no idea. However, one thing was for sure; I wanted to find a way so that I would never have to spackle and paint my bathroom ceiling ever again.   Not only that, but I wanted to find a way to make the ceiling beautiful and practical too.

My apartment is small enough to inspire me to join the "micro-living" trend, which requires as many pieces to be as multi-functional as possible.  Deciding to make this ceiling problem a pathway to a home improvement solution, I started imagining options.

It so happened that repairs were inspiring more repairs.  I arranged for my father to install four sets of brackets across the width of my bathroom to hold four shiny white metal closet rods that would go parallel to the shower curtain rod. I love his idea to place the middle two slightly higher than the outer two so that when I drape a sheer sparkly fabric across the rods, I will get a canopy effect. Tiny white Christmas lights fixed to the ceiling will provide 24/7 illumination and ambiance. If the roof ever leaks again, the lights will not be affected. It turned out I created a beautiful solution to a chronically ugly bathroom ceiling.

Despite my repairs feeling endless, I was determined to push through.  At first, I felt a little frustrated with the setbacks and work involved, but now we are both looking forward to the finished look of our beautiful and practical collaboration.
It has been a lesson in resilience for me, and the great thing about it is that it helps to build more of itself. With each experience you have with recovering from feeling squashed, twisted, bent, or perforated, you realize that if you did it once, you could do it again. 

Nonetheless, experiences add up to patterns and habits until one day, something "bad" happens, and your instant thought is: "So what? I have got this."

When you get to this point, you can indeed inspire others with your wisdom, light, and confidence.

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