The past week has been quite chaotic in our home. Back in October, our water heater decided to spring a leak overnight, and we had water all over the kitchen floor by morning. Immediate mitigation ensued, and further investigation showed water damage in the pantry, two closets, and my office, as well as the garage. We were able to purchase and have a new tankless water heater installed, but it has taken this long for us to get to the top of the contractor’s list for repairs to the various walls, floorboards, my office flooring, a kitchen cabinet, etc.

As a friend and colleague would say, “First-world problems.”

Still, such problems are definitely disruptive. We dismantled the guest bed back in October, and I set up my desk in that space, so I’ve been able to continue to work. Of course, I had two editing projects to work on last week as various workers made noise, asked questions, and needed us to move things and make decisions. I am certainly grateful for the quality of their work. I am also thankful that we have house insurance to cover the cost of the repairs.

As I type this, the work is done except for the flooring and baseboards in my office. Theoretically, that will be installed as you are reading this on Monday. Hopefully, I will be back in my office shortly thereafter. It will take rather longer to put everything back in place and for me to feel “at home” and settled.

We had another significant disruption to our lives a month ago. Henry’s seemingly annual bout with pneumonia landed him in the emergency room because his heart got involved this time. Fortunately, he was allowed to go home after a very long day there, but his recovery from the pneumonia is slower this year and still ongoing.

Once again, I find myself very grateful for good insurance—a first-world benefit!

This is certainly not how I expected to enter the new year. However, at this point in my life, I try not to make assumptions about what each year will bring. I plan my workflow and make my commitments, then life upends our days.

Disruption is endemic, be it by illness (COVID-19 is on the rise again this winter, though it’s no longer making headlines), landslides, flood, war, job loss, and other unforeseen disasters. Even positive events can be disruptive, as the birth of a first child turns the lives of parents upside down.

Perhaps it would be wiser to recognize that disruption is part of life. There’s a saying that has kept me company throughout my adulthood: The only constant is change. Perhaps a good mantra for this year and all years would be to welcome whatever comes.

What is your relationship with disruption? When has your carefully choreographed life recently been upended? How did you respond, and what were the results? What did you learn about yourself in the process?

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