Adapt, Innovate, and Overcome

Peter sits outside at the shelter

Two years ago, Peter came to Our Saviour’s shelter. This month, he moved into an apartment of his own – and he’s “nesting like crazy.” His place gets plenty of light, and Peter likes that he can easily carry his bike down a short flight of stairs for safe storage. He’s kept busy furnishing and arranging the place. When his case manager gave him a new free mattress, the very next day he found a free matching bed frame. “Right after I moved in, my mattress was on the floor, and now it’s not. Things are just happening. It’s very interesting to see how that goes.”

Peter’s also excited to cook for himself, which he’s always enjoyed but hasn’t been able to do for several years. For one of his first meals, he made a spicy red lentil soup. “I made enough for at least two meals of it, right? Didn’t last me the night. I enjoyed it too much!” Next, he’s thinking about buttermilk pancakes, fresh baked bread, and an extra special treat from a Hungarian butcher in Chicago. “They have one bacon, which is rolled in fresh paprika. It’s basically red on the outside from the paprika, and the flavor permeates into the bacon. So I’m salivating at the thought of ordering a package!”


A motto to live by

Of course, there are adjustments to living on his own again, from keeping up with cleaning to regulating his eating with unlimited access to food just a few feet away. The biggest change, however, has been all the time alone. “It’s mixed feelings because all of a sudden I’m in this place by myself. At the shelter, there’s always people around, so there’s a lot more socializing happening. Where I am now, I don’t know anybody. I’ve been starting to say hello to people, but that takes time.”

Instead of sitting at home, however, Peter keeps in contact with friends and makes plans so that every day he has somewhere to go or an errand to run. “The routine has changed, [but] what is the marine motto? Adapt, innovate, and overcome. That’s how I’m addressing my life right now.”

In the short term, Peter’s hoping for a little peace before focusing on his next goals – continuing his education and restarting his career. When he does take on these tasks, you can be sure he’ll do so with the same spirit to adapt, innovate, and overcome. After all, his grandfather lived to 97. So at the age of 68, Peter figures he’s still got a lot of living left to do.