Do You Make Do or Make Adjustments?

Here’s an interesting factoid: I used to be left-handed.

I say “used to be” because when I was in kindergarten, the teachers made me and the other lefties use our right hands for tasks like writing, drawing, and using scissors. I was forced to be right-handed.

Before you call the ACLU, let me say that this was nearly 25 years ago. The teachers weren’t mean-spirited or making me use my right hand because they thought left-handed people were inferior. They were trying to protect me from a world where lefties are at a disadvantage.

And I didn’t think to question it.

As I got older, I noticed kids who were allowed to stay left-handed, and I felt bad when they struggled with right-handed spiral notebooks or tried to do their work while sitting in right-handed desks (you know, the ones with the extra desk part on the right side to support your arm).

Other ex-lefties in my class became full-on righties, while I became ambidextrous. I write clearly with both hands (see my handwriting here). My left arm can throw a ball straighter and with more accuracy, and my right arm is stronger and more powerful.

I don’t think many parents would approve of teachers making their students be right-handed nowadays. After all, our president is left-handed. I can see both sides of the argument, and I wanted to ask you readers:

In your life, do you make do or make adjustments?

You make do when you accept things as they are and do the best you can in a situation. That might mean that things are more difficult for you, but hey, that’s life.

You make adjustments when you don’t accept things as they are and demand changes (or make your own changes) to make situations easier for you.

Situations Where I Make Do

  • At restaurants. I’m a vegan, and usually there’s something I can eat at any restaurant, even if it’s just a salad. In the rare instances when there’s nothing for me to eat, I sip my iced tea and enjoy the company I’m with (isn’t that what going out is about?). I always eat ahead of time for this very reason.
  • With my dog. Skyla’s a former stray with a broken leg and abandonment issues. I don’t need an award-winning purebred dog.

Situations Where I Make Adjustments

  • At home. I’m very short, so I had Chris install clothing rods in our closet at my height so I don’t have to stand on my tip toes to reach the hangers.
  • With my clothes. I’m not going to shuffle along in too-long pants just because they were like that when I pulled them off the rack. I’ll take my clothes to my tailor to get that “just right” fit.
  • When voting. I’m not content to let others make decisions for me when it comes to causes I feel strongly about. If I’m not happy, I use my voice, money, and vote to support those who can make adjustments.

What do you do more often: make do or make adjustments?

When do you go with the flow, and when do you rock the boat?

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  1. Anna on January 29, 2012 at 11:18 am

    I’ve never considered the situations where I make do and where I make adjustments. I generally manage my expectations; for example, I often can’t control the behavior of others but I can consciously decide how to respond. I never settle for things that play to my core beliefs – that’s when I take a stand about what matters to me. I know this is rather general but just thinking about this makes my head spin. That’s a good thing, you know, that your posts make my brain do superman yoga 😉

  2. xvavaveganx on January 27, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    What an interesting post and story! I actually know someone who also was a lefty but taught to write with her right hand. She actually had quite messy handwriting with her right hand and then she wrote with the left for me when she told me about it and it was much neater! I’m curious as to why she didn’t go back to lefty actually. Anyway, I digress 🙂 I think it is actually really great to be ambidextrous!

    I absolutely made do on certain things. As a vegan, like you, I have to make do when I’m eating (or even drinking) out of my home. For example, when I used to drink coffee, it was very difficult for me to get coffee when I was on the run. The only places that carry soy milk are Starbucks and Panera, and they were far less prevalent than Dunkin Donuts or 7-11. If I couldn’t find a place with soy milk I’d just make do and drink tea or water (even though coffee was definitely preferred when working a long 12 hour day!).

    I make adjustments all the time too but most importantly I’ll make adjustments very quickly when it comes to my health. When I found out I have pinched nerves in my neck it changed the way I carried things, worked out and stretched. If I’m not feeling well I’ll tweak my diet to make sure I’m doing everything I can to make myself feel better 🙂

    • xvavaveganx on January 27, 2012 at 1:30 pm

      Well I guess switching from coffee to tea or water would be considered an adjustment. Oops 🙂

      • Sage on January 28, 2012 at 1:25 pm

        I’m always on the lookout for a Starbucks because I know I can get soy milk there. I love the practice of tweaking your diet to make adjustments with your health. I need to get better at that because I do notice a difference in my overall well-being when I eat good food.

  3. Megan Gann on January 27, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    I absolutely make adjustments. I just bought a new coat. It was amazing, but was two inches too long. I’m not the best seamstress ever, but I wasn’t gonna wait – I learned how to hem a lined garment and finished it in about an hour. I now have a coat with sleeves that fit. I tailor almost everything I can.

    That’s just clothes. I do the same in almost all areas of life. I rarely let myself be rocked by anything, but when I do it’s for a good reason.

    • Sage on January 28, 2012 at 1:22 pm

      A good tailor makes all the difference! When I see women walking around tripping on their pant hems, I just want to shake them and say, “You can make adjustments! They’re YOUR clothes!”

  4. Tinfoil Tiaras on January 27, 2012 at 11:35 am

    What a thought provoking post- I’m right handed so I’ve never considered how the disadvantages go towards left handed writers. I also make do with my cats who were both previously neglected and who have various health problems. I make adjustments with my jobs- I’ve had 6 different jobs since I graduated from Uni in 2012 because I won’t settle for something that doesn’t interest me, spark creativity and fulfill me. That sounds picky (which it is) but I wouldn’t have it any other way…besides actually finding that ‘perfect job’ of course!

    • Sage on January 28, 2012 at 1:18 pm

      I’ve had a lot of different jobs too. You can’t stay at a job that doesn’t make you feel excited to be there.

  5. Shybiker on January 27, 2012 at 7:47 am

    Important subject – one that defines most of us.

    Because of my history, I learned to make do. To adapt to whatever life gives me, as limited as that may be. Growing up, I was taught that who I am — at the most fundamental level — is not acceptable and will not be tolerated. My protests were beaten out of me until I stopped protesting.

    Instead, I learned numerous subtle ways to circumvent and evade those restrictions and, equally as valuable, I learned to accept my lot in life. My expectations for everything are low. If they were higher, I’d be disappointed too frequently. With my mindset, I’ve been relatively content. I don’t believe I had any other real options up to now.

    As I approach senescence, I’m trying to expand my horizon and grow my own brand of joy. I have more freedom now and I plan to use it.

    • Sage on January 28, 2012 at 1:21 pm

      I’m happy that you have more freedom in your life now, but it makes me sad that you’ve had to face so much intolerance. It’s one thing to choose to make do, and quite another to be forced to make do.