Good Riddance Jack, Bonjour Brie de Melun

Have you read the book, Who Moved my Cheese?  It is a sweet story about four little mice that find out their food source, cheese, is no longer in its usual location and they must go out into their mice world, a maze, in search of it.  One little mouse is successful at it, the others are not.  Why?  Simply because the successful mouse found the courage and strength to face his fears and conquer the big dark scary labyrinth of tunnels to find more cheese while the others did not.  The cheese is a metaphor for the things you want in your life; love, happiness, a secure job, health, or peace of mind.  You either adapt to unexpected changes in your life or you die.

I have tried a third option, yelling at the universe to quit moving my god damn cheese but apparently the universe has other plans for me.  This month alone Kevin has a new job in LA after a year of unemployment, my house is in Escrow, Maggie started school this week for the very first time in her life,  I spend hours each day cooking and eating food for rabbits and I will be having a mastectomy in the next 10 to 14 days.

So how do I deal with all of this?  Adapt or die.  Adaptation is a process where you become better suited to living in a certain environment.  If your outer world changes, you need to change too.  You can do it kicking and screaming, you can drag your feet and wallow in sadness, “oh, woe is me”, you can blame others for your situation or you can have a positive attitude and grab the world by the lapels but whatever you choose we must all change to live a fuller life.  If the fish can leave the sea to walk on land, surely I can adjust to a new job, new house, and new boobs.

I have written about this before because it is a constant theme in my life.  Actually, I bet it is a theme in all of your lives as well.  The one thing for sure in this world is that nothing is for sure.  Things are always changing, sometimes small and insignificant, other times huge and earth crushing.  There is no way to avoid it so you better make the best of it, stay positive and continue to look for new stashes of cheese.   When hit with adversity and difficult times, it is time to kick into gear and adapt to the new circumstances.   Riley conveyed this beautiful positive spirit yesterday in his amazingly upbeat optimistic words he sent me in a text, “I can do it Mom!”

Riley started school at Dana Hills High School this year as a junior after 8 years of unschooling.  Unfortunately, when he first enrolled last semester, they told him that he will not be able to graduate with the class because he does not have any accredited classes for the first two years.  Well, yesterday we spoke to the assistant principle and asked her if there is anything Riley can do so that he can graduate with the class.  She said, “Since he is a great student, we may need to be creative but I’m sure we can figure something out”.  So figured it out she did.  It will require Riley making up 120 credits, taking some on-line classes, courses at Saddleback College and summer school while still taking a full load at school. 

Riley is psyched.  I am so amazed at his positive attitude.  His belief in himself and his gumption to make this happen even though it will require a lot of extra work and will not be easy absolutely blows me away.  I’m a proud mama.  Instead of Riley feeling sorry for himself because he has so much more work than everyone else or blaming me or the system for failing him, he is going to work hard and persevere.  Perseverance is essential in adapting.  One cannot give up.  If those little fish gave up millions of years ago we would not be here today. 

Kevin did not give up when looking for a job.  I will not fall off my macrobiotic diet.  Riley will graduate from Dana Hills and Maggie will transition into school.  It is not always easy but the results are worth the hard work and determination.  And better yet, when one does not give up, it creates an opportunity for a bigger and better door to open. 

Kevin may leave the house at 6:00 am every morning and not get home until 9:00 pm Monday thru Friday but he finally has a job he absolutely loves, a steady paycheck and huge opportunity.  I honestly can’t complain (which I would have done a few years ago, relentlessly).  And, yes, it is sad that we have had to sell our house in a short sale but we are hoping to rent back from the new owners for less than our mortgage, a substantial monthly savings.   And, of course, I will miss unschooling, but I am so excited to see an entire new world open up for Maggie including new friends, new opportunities and new adventures.   And damn if I still don’t crave Trader Joe’s chocolate covered almonds and homemade oatmeal cookies but now I have more energy, I have lost weight, and am learning to sit with my emotions instead of stuffing them with chocolate.   

Not too long ago, breast cancer was a death sentence.   I am grateful to live in a time when it is possible to recover fully.  I am not happy about having a mastectomy.  It will definitely not be an easy road; three surgeries, reconstruction, lots of rabbit food, and other unforeseen twists and turns but I will be better, wiser and stronger in the long run. Like Riley, I can do it!  Like the little mouse, I know there is a bigger and better stash of cheese waiting for me.

So when adversity hits, and you find that your favorite block of Jack cheese found in the refrigerated section at your local grocery store is no longer available, try a new and better cheese, maybe Brie de Melun flown all the way in from France.  It may not offer the predictability, comfort and security you are used to, you may have to change your menu, learn new recipes or spend a little extra money but I am certain it will lead you to something bigger and better, or at least different.  So I say good riddance Jack and bonjour Brie de Melun! Adios home ownership y hola the world of renting.  Ciao unschooling and buongiorno public school.  Bye bye boobie and hello silicone!

11 Responses to “Good Riddance Jack, Bonjour Brie de Melun”

  1. Raundi Says:

    That was radical! I just read it to Michael. We laughed and I cried. Michael said it was very moving. You should read that last part as a performance piece.

  2. Bridget Says:

    Well said – how true! When life gives you lemons…

  3. Stacy Says:

    LOVE IT!

  4. Cyndi Says:

    You’ve moved me to tears. I’ve had some pretty down days of late (lack of sunshine gets to me), but this was just what I needed to help me get out of the doldrums. You Rock, Yesmom!

  5. Dana E Says:

    Just got home from the Kick Cancer’s Ass fundraiser, and much like all of this evenings performers, your above blog was AWESOME! Thanks for continuing to share, and continuing to inspire :-)

    Brie de Melun sounds pretty dern good, I shall have to give it a try… ;-)

  6. Marie Says:

    Dear Deanne,

    Thank you for putting words to yours and our experiences with the big C and with the other difficult challenges you are meeting. Your metaphor is really helpful. New cheeses!!Hurray!
    I love your spirit and feel very inspired by your words.

  7. Gretchen Says:

    We evolved from fish?!
    Thanks for the update. You really have a way of putting life into a positive perspective. I’ll be staying tuned in to your blog.

  8. Mom Says:

    What can I say?! You did it again. I read it twice and will probably read it again.
    You are indeed “one of a kind” love you!

  9. Mom Says:

    What can I say?! You did it again. I read it twice and will probably read it again.
    You are indeed “one of a kind” love you!

  10. Deanne Says:

    Thanks for all of your comments. All of you out there reading my blog inspire me to be strong and stay the course. I will not let you down!

  11. clare Says:

    Deanne, yet again you are still thinking of others. Don’t talk about not letting people down as you face the quagmire of oredeals ahead. It is we who hope not to let you down and all want to be here for you. And please don’t feel you have failed if you ever feel un-strong. You take all the pain meds you need. Pain stresses the body and drains it of vitamin C, which you will be needing a lot of. So listen to your own needs and don’t worry about letting anyone down.
    I read an interveiw with Angelina Jolie and she said she felt most sexy when she felt strong. And on that measure you are one sexy woman.
    love you

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