In a Nova program on the discovery of ancient skulls of human ancestors, one of the scientists posited that after four million years of little brain development, large climate shifts required responses from these creatures that caused a huge evolutionary leap in brain development. This idea took me to one of my favorite topics: women’s ability to change and be adaptable. I conclude one of the reasons for women’s adaptability relates to the monthly changes experienced physically and sometimes emotionally for approximately 30 years. Living with menstruation (and its cessation – The Change), and changes brought around by pregnancy and childbirth contribute to our being able to take change more in stride. We know we will feel different from time to time, our bodies will change, sometimes the changes are significant, sometimes not, but we almost always go back to our personal equilibrium.
Some changes are more difficult, where we are in the state of change for a while. Sometimes we are lucky to be able to choose the changes in our life – vanilla or chocolate, this car or that, to marry or not. Sometimes they are thrust upon us to live out as best we can – illness, loss of a job, the death of a loved one. Those are more difficult to deal with.
After my husband died I realized that we each have to grieve at our own pace. It helps to have a friend or counselor hold our hand, or to share our feelings with others in a similar situation, our just sit and watch TV for a whole day. But when and how we do it is pretty individual. I eventually knew that I would feel better at some point and that I would get back to my old self. It did and I did. Knowing that life is a series of changes does help us to adapt to the change as we need to, make the most of it, and then see what’s next. There’s always something next.