Is Embracing “Life Seasons” the Key to Resilience?

I’m writing a new book on the topic of resilience. Not only does it fit the current environment in the world, but it has long been an interest of mine. The formula for resilience seems to be a fascinating combination of emotional intelligence, strategy, perspective, and action. In my early research and analysis, this is one of the ideas I find helpful, especially in this current global environment. Most of all, it helps to think of life seasons instead of trying to maintain the same life forever.

Change is Inevitable

One of the less obvious solutions for greater resilience is embracing life seasons. A life season is in simplest terms a temporary lifestyle and focus. It’s spending a year to write a book, six months to improve your health, three months to find and improve your relationships, or eighteen years to focus on raising your children.

There are four seasons of weather every year, unless you live in San Diego. Each season brings its own set of pros and cons. Summer is hot, and ideal for water activities. Winter is cold, and ideal for hot cocoa, fireplaces, and snow skiing. Spring and fall are moderate versions of summer and winter, respectively, and are both ideal for general outdoor activity.

Life’s seasons are like weather seasons, but with unlimited variation. You might have an extended life season just dealing with a specific health problem, or researching, or if you’re lucky, vacationing. When the pandemic hit, just like summer or winter, it was a forced life season for many people.

As COVID-19 spread through the world, governments shut down businesses and ordered people to stay home. It happened quickly. Nobody expected this for 2020. Months later, many people are still forced to mostly or completely stay home for safety or government reasons.

With this forced change, how many people accepted it? How many people embraced the new temporary nature of the world? I don’t know the true answer to that, but I know that those who did accept it as a temporary life season were the resilient ones. Those who resist life seasons are like the people who wear shorts in the snow. It’s possible to do, but it’s generally worse.

While everyone seeks “work life balance,” reality supports life seasons as the more realistic and more enjoyable way of life. And the concept of life seasons is ancient. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 says,

“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.” (NIV version)

When you fight this, you’re fighting the very nature of the world, and of life. It’s exhausting! Using the pandemic as an example, many people were forced to stay in their homes. Thus, there was no choice but to live in this new season.

The Key to Embracing a New Life Season

People resist life seasons because they don’t encompass the whole of their lives and their values. Of course I don’t want to spend all of my time writing a book. I want to travel the world, meet new people, and expand my skills in other areas!

It’s okay to focus completely on one thing for a period of time because…

  1. It can and will end. Seasons are temporary, and that’s part of what makes them enjoyable. Some life seasons are unenjoyable but necessary (pandemic!); in those cases, take solace that they’re temporary.
  2. It can set up new opportunities. Working hard can set up vacation and retirement. If you’re in poor health, focusing on it can your ability to travel. If you’re in a pandemic, you can master your at home habits to prepare yourself for any number of possibilities moving forward.
  3. It doesn’t cancel your future. This is the big fear. We all have dreams. But the path to reach those dreams is rarely a straight and easy line. We have to take detours sometimes, and that’s okay!

Using San Diego as an example, life seasons might not be for everyone. Some people want that 70 degree weather at all times. In the same way, some people want to have the same basic life and schedule from here until death.

Others relish the change of season and scenery, in weather and in life. (This is me.)

I’m not here to say that my way is always correct, I’m here to tell you that it is necessary to embrace life seasons sometimes for resilience. We must be prepared to embrace life seasons for the simple fact that we don’t always have a choice in the matter (as 2020 has taught us thoroughly).

Be well, and embrace your current life season as best you can!

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