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Embracing All Kinds of Change

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

By Jon Ritchings, Jr.

I’m graduating—and with that, I will end my school career. Soon I’ll be interviewing and then working at a new job. This has me thinking about the sense of loss or excitement we can feel as we transition from one part of life to the next.

As congenital heart defect patients we often make transitions in our lives. Sometimes it’s a slow transition as our heart function declines and our bodies tire. Other times it is in the opposite direction as through surgery, medications, and changes in lifestyle, we get healthier and are able to physically do more.

I’ve experienced both during my lifetime but today I want to talk about how I handled my declining health.

As my heart function declined over time and I entered into congestive heart failure over a decade ago, I felt a true sense of loss as I realized I wasn’t able to do the physical things I used to. I remember feeling lost and unsure of what I should do. I decided if I couldn’t do the things I used to do I would find something I could do.

I decided I would learn to cook and take up photography, something I had wanted to do for a while anyway. I bought myself a nice camera and taught myself how to use it over the next several months. I also spent my free time watching the Food Network and planning dinner each night.

By focusing on the new things I could do—instead of the things I couldn’t—I was able to transition from one part of my life to the next with much more ease and much less pain.

We all experience change throughout our lifetimes whether we want it or not. We can choose to embrace those changes as an exciting challenge or as a profound sense of loss. It is up to you.


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