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It's All About Adaptability

My daughter Casey is very involved in theater and I have learned a lot about adaptability by watching her. When she played "Miss Gulch / The Wicked Witch" in The Wizard of Oz, there was a scene where she had to ride a big bike with a basket attached to the front of it around the stage. One night, as I was watching the show, my daughter and the bike fell over and the basket broke off and went flying to the other side of the stage. Time stood still for a moment; no one on stage knew what to do. My daughter's two friends playing "Auntie Em" and "Uncle Henry" wanted to help her but couldn't break character. A few seconds went by and "Miss Gulch" got on her feet, picked up the bike with one hand and the basket with the other and said with attitude, "That's the last time I buy a cheap bike at a charity bazaar." Then, she hobbled off the stage. The audience laughed and clapped. Since they hadn't read the script, they had no idea that my daughter had just improvised this scene. After the show, a lot of people asked Casey if that scene had been planned. When she said, "No", they said, "Wow! Are you OK?" Everyone was surprised how well she handled the situation and told her that it was actually their favorite part of the show.

Life doesn’t come with a script so we have to learn to adapt to ever changing situations. After my senior year of college, I didn’t plan on being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I had no idea how this disease was going to affect my life but I knew I had to stay in character. Although MS has become part of my life, I am still “Dee” and I’m not going to let this disease hold me back or limit me. I was born feisty and I relish still being that way today; thus, when my legs don’t work well or I trip and fall, I don’t act sad or disappointed. I laugh and say something like, “Once again, my mind is going faster than my feet.” Everyone can relate to that. I have fallen countless times in my lifetime, with and without MS, and I feel like I have mastered the art of adaptability and recovery. For me, laughter is my saving grace and I find that the more I laugh at myself, the more comfortable others are around me when I fall. It’s all part of my character.

We are all presented with challenges and mishaps every day but if we can adapt and recover from them in a positive way, these situations can only make us stronger. My daughter and I have both learned that we should never give up, especially when things don’t go as planned. As they say in the theatre, “The show must go on”.

Photo Credit - Jess Miller

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