adapt – verb \ə-ˈdapt, a-\

: to change your behavior so that it is easier to live in a particular place or situation
: to change (something) so that it functions better or is better suited for a purpose
: to change (a movie, book, play, etc.) so that it can be presented in another form

This week doesn’t look the way I had planned.

As it goes, I have a loose schedule I try to stick to: client work on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Writing and appointments on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It’s a rough plan, but it usually helps structure my days. This week looks nothing like that. I blame it on last week.

When I felt the achiness in my shoulders on Monday afternoon and added it to the scratchy throat from Sunday, I knew I was getting sick. Then came the headache, the coughing, the fullness behind my ears. By the time I quit working for the day, I could do nothing but head for the couch. The next day, I didn’t even get out of bed. Day after day, I cancelled and shifted and postponed until my calendar looked like the departure board at O’Hare Airport during a blizzard: CANCELLED.

During those feverish days spent lying around watching episode after episode of Drop Dead Diva on Netflix, adapting was easy. I didn’t feel like doing much else. I could send out an email asking for a delay or wipe the day’s activities off the calendar with no regrets, then make a cup of tea and go back to bed.


The real adapting happens now. I’m squeezing two weeks of work into one during an already busier than usual stretch. The apathy of last week has been replaced with the anxiety of getting it all done. And that calendar that emptied so easily last week is now being adjusted and rearranged and manipulated to fit more and more into it.

But here’s the crazy thing. It’s all working out. Two weeks ago, I couldn’t imagine how I could squeeze in a long lunch much less a four-day sick spree. But when it came time to adapt, I’m just doing it.

The real trick, I’m learning, is to take some of that after-the-fact adaptability that we all experience on the back end and use it to mitigate some of the before-the-fact anxiety on the front-end, which is really just another way of saying I need to be more flexible. (That’s not a word Type A personalities like me do well with, if you must know.)

So, this week while I try to catch up on work, I have friends in the midst of crises and birthday parties to host and deadlines to meet and workshops to finish up and graduations to attend in several states. At the same time, my nose is still running, and my head is still hurting a little, and by bedtime each night, I’m more exhausted than usual.

But if I can adapt after last week’s illness, then I can try to be flexible with the busyness that swirls around me. And who knows? Maybe I can take that long lunch after all—next week!

What’s YOUR word of the week? Drop it into the comments section, or share it on this week’s Facebook post. If you post about your word on your blog, please slip the link into a comment below so I can stop by and join you.

Photo by Chris Costes, via Flickr, used with permission under the Creative Commons. Definitions of my word of the week are from Merriam-Webster Dictionary Online.