A friend of mine recently posted this query to Facebook:

Looking back on your adolescence: what got you through? What helped you the most? What do you think built your “resilience”, for lack of a better word?

I tried answering, but that was the day the Swedelock left for a work trip, and I just couldn’t come up with anything more than: dumb luck. Teenagers can do some dumb, dumb stuff. It’s part of the whole deal, right? I’m not a straight-up goodie-two-shoes. But somehow I escaped going through much of the nonsense that is adolescence.

Then that word kept bopping around in my head: resilience.


The next morning I learned the following.

The Swedelock had run into major weather-related delays trying to get out of town. He’d made it to Chicago after something like 8 hours at our tiny airport, and was awaiting a crew for his plane (or a plane for his crew…or something). After much waiting, and nothin’ doin’, there was no plane for him. At one o’clock in the morning. During a major travel fustercluck. There were absolutely no hotel rooms anywhere.

Next step? He calls my dad. Who is, of course, on his way to the library to return some materials. What do you do at one in the morning? Well, zoom, zoom, zoom, he goes to pick up my husband and a coworker at O’Hare.

I’m sent a photo at around 5 in the morning of my smiling mother and a Swede (a real one, not the kind my husband is) at the kitchen table. When I learn of this little jaunt to the ‘burbs, I text my mom, “Wow, how crazy.”

She said, “Not really, for this house.”

And that is how I survived adolescence.

It’s not as if people were always appearing in the middle of the night seeking a few hours of shelter. But if they did, we’d just get them some towels and a glass of water. My home wasn’t unpredictable in a way that makes a kid insecure. But, as I’ve ascertained, we just aren’t…normal. Or maybe it’s that we aren’t conventional.

In any case, whatever shit went down (because, as we all know this week, shit goes down), we’d just adjust. You need to be able to adjust so quickly in adolescence that you should get an award for just surviving. Inside and outside are ginormous tidal waves of change. Getting attached to yesterday’s mood/clothing/style/friendship/song is fine, but there’s another one coming tomorrow. So adjust.

Be resilient.

I’m pretty sure I can attribute surviving adolescence, in part, to growing up in a house where the baby grand piano could very well be stacked up in the kitchen. Just reach around it for the glasses, dear.

About alanajoyski

Project manager, problem solver, chips fan.
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