Aug 24 2016

School starts this week. Change. – by LeAnn Caseria

Published by at 1:01 am under Blog Contributors,Open Chat Night

Blog topic written by LeAnn Caseria

This morning I helped my youngest pack our old Toyota as he left for his 2nd year at University, new dorm, new roommate and part-time job, new classes and new people to meet. Change.

This fall, another son and daughter in-law are anxiously awaiting the birth of their second child.  My adorable grandson is so excited to soon be a “big brother.” Change.

Speaking of babies, a very dear friend and her husband have wanted a child for a very long time.  They’ve just received the news that they are expecting two! Change.

A friend has recently taken her elderly father into her home to live with her family.  She’s not sure how this will work out, but she wants to try to make it work.  Currently it is very difficult for all involved.  Change.

Some years bring more changes than others, but we all know that life never stays the same.  The ancient Greek philosopher, Heraclitus of Ephesus spoke of what he saw as the needless unconsciousness of the people around him.   Famous for his views on change being the essence of the universe, he is known for such quotes as “No man ever steps in the same river twice” and “The only thing that is constant is change.”

By this time next week, I will be getting up a little earlier and packing a lunch again.  Making sure that I have my gym bag packed for the days that I go straight from work and planning my meals ahead, for those evenings when my brain will seem to be nonfunctional by 6pm.  Experience has taught me that there will be those days.

Change…in the summer it is easier for me, less adaptions to keep things normal for living with hearing loss.  I have more control of where I go and can choose places without a lot of loud background noise.  For me, this means less lip reading needed with the blessed results of less headaches, tinnitus and vertigo.  I belong to a hearing loss support group and read about the daily challenges that each person makes to have a relatively normal life.  Knowing that I am luckier than most, I remind myself of the good change coming up and that even though all the noise is very difficult, I can still work in a job that I love.

At the middle school where I work, the students are energetic, fun and never boring.  Like rocks on the river bank, they are all different, but each is beautiful in their own way. Some come with some pretty sharp edges but when you get a closer look, you can see the beauty there.  Sometimes their beauty is hidden in cracks, buried under a bit of dirt. They’ve hidden their shiny parts, a bit afraid that their peers might not like what they see. Their natural abilities and talents might need to be dug out. Like us, they don’t always see the value in their individual shapes or sizes, or how strong they really are and how important that strength is. With their own personalities, talents and challenges, they will all teach me something this year, and what I learn will be in direct correlation to the attitude that I bring to the relationship.

I’ve learned so much since sudden hearing loss brought a new kind of change to my life. I’ve learned that continuous lip reading causes daily headaches and that it is crucial to “rest my eyes” whenever possible during the day. I now take my breaks and often go sit in my car to calm the ringing in my ears. Time spent in the local gym has taught me that if my muscles are stronger, I have less dizzy spells and am less fatigued. If I’m overtired or catch a cold, my inner ear can throw a bit of vertigo to make my day more interesting. Those days, I’ll need to change things up and move a bit slower. Maybe stay seated more and be careful going around those crowded hallway corners.

Explaining some of my challenges to the students helps them to understand why my interactions may be a bit different and how I’ve made changes and adapted to my physical challenges. No longer do I make excuses because I do not want them to think that their own challenges make them weak, but that they are courageous when they tackle their obstacles and that it’s okay if they do things differently. I explain that I watch a bit more intently so that I can “hear” with my eyes.  For those that are interested, I take off my BAHA (bone anchored hearing appliance) to show it to them and we have some great scientific discussions about sound waves and how they can travel through your bones. When students find out the adaptions that people with hearing loss make, it often opens up discussions on learning strategies and changes they may need to make.

As we learn from each other, I will be helping them discover what change is needed in their life. Maybe organization will be a new focus or daily reading to strengthen their skills. Some changes they may embrace, while others they may not be quite to excited about…..sigh, such is life. But my hope is that as we learn together, that they too will find ways to grow, to change and some days when it is really, really hard to just be able to cope with it. To learn how to hang in there….maybe take a quiet moment, rest their eyes or their tired brain. Breathe in and out, then gather themselves, finding that inner strength that they have.  That we all have.

Rumi, the 13th-century Persian Poet is quoted saying, “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” And it was Mahatma Gandhi who said “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” Yes, the word change still scares me somedays, but I realize that just because I don’t like it….well, it’s not going to go away.

So yes, school starts this week. Change…..what’s changing in your life?  What’s hard?  What scares you, and what can you do about it? What’s something that is working for you?  What advice can you share that might help others on how to handle change?

Join us on Wednesday at this week’s Open Chat Night!

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