Life changes. Pure and simple. Changes happen in every life. They may come often or rarely, and every one of us handles changes differently.
My life changes story
June 2015, I left a corporate job to pursue writing full time. I planned that change, saved for it and waited patiently for my last day to arrive. I readily embraced the life changes coming. Along that time, I read Michael Hyatt’s article about designing your ideal week. First task on my first day of self-employment: Design and document my ideal week, leaving time pockets for paid writing/editing and my own writing work. While I didn’t have much paid work at that time, I stuck to my plan and used that time looking for work, submitting proposals and things like that. I took a week off to stay with my grandsons while their dad had surgery.
A couple of months later, I received an invitation to apply for a magazine’s community-editor position. I prayed about it. Was a part-time job an answer to providing income while building my personal business? I got the job and two weeks later landed a second market for the same company and full-time status. Not exactly expected, the life changes required a new ideal week. Six months later, I stabilized. Less pressure pushed against my brain as I settled into a new routine and still found time for paid personal business work.
Less than a year since I left my well-paying corporate job, and already I experienced two big changes in my life. Good changes, yet not necessarily easy to accept, let alone embrace.
Early in May 2016, another life change blind-sided me. One I wasn’t looking for, one I wasn’t sure I wanted. Well-adjusted to single again status, (20 years of it) I met someone. Moving along, enjoying life, settling into the changes I met head on within the last year. And wham—someone new came along, mesmerized by my smile and the light in my eyes. God so entrenched in the meeting that neither of us doubted He brought us together.
Great changes. Yet something this big and completely unexpected through all kinds of wrenches in my life. I’m not complaining—not at all. The life changes with love amazed me. I’m still changing, and adjusting. Even with all the good parts of this relationship, some changes, not so good. I worked hard on some of the changes required to make this work. Honestly, I’m still trying to embrace all the changes.
So how do I adjust to life changes?
Reject Life Changes
Many times in the corporate world, I wanted to reject changes. At times, management threw things at us without warning. I initially rejected their plans. But doing so meant leaving my job. So after thinking through the pros and cons, I rolled around to acceptance. Half of my career I had four daughters to think about, so I swallowed hard and shifted my thoughts. In the end, I rejected the corporate environment. The changes didn’t sit well, and I opted to take responsibility for the life changes affecting me.
We can’t reject every change that comes along. Changes keep life moving forward, and even if we don’t like them, repeated rejection of change in general leaves us stagnant and existing, not living. Before I reject life changes, I have to examine closely the consequences. I do not want to live in misery, which is what happens when life changes inevitably with or without me. And that happens often. Sometimes we simply cannot reject the changes. Eventually we have to go on and at least accept what we cannot prevent.
Accept Life Changes
I accept some life changes far faster than others. Even though I faced planned changes, I didn’t enjoy all of them. Let’s get real for a second. I can thoroughly plan, even include contingencies, yet some changes don’t turn out the way I envisioned. Even when better for me, I still struggle with some changes.
In my corporate job, when I had time to think through changes, ask questions and settle down from the shock, I accepted the new thing. I didn’t always like what managers decided, didn’t even agree with their decisions. In fact, sometimes anger took hold, and I visited the ladies’ room to hide hot tears. I can’t say I always moved toward embracing the changes. But I chose to accept and roll with decisions beyond my control.
At other times, I didn’t care either way. Even if inconvenient, I accepted readily—better than fighting or wallowing in pity or anger. As I moved into leadership roles, I learned about a lot before the “announcement” came and had time to adjust before the changes happened.
Life altering changes take more time for adjustment. When shocked by changes, my world shudders—even with the best life changes. In time, as I work through changes, I accept and adjust.
Embrace Life Changes
I seldom immediately embrace life changes. Some do. I know people who love changes so much they move their furniture around monthly. Me? Maybe twice a year. Once when Christmas decorations go up. Next, when they come down—although the rearrangement may be back to the way it looked before.
Eventually, my acceptance morphs to embracing. I don’t always get there fast, but if I can’t embrace changes that alter my life, I’m the one who loses. I’m the one who gets depressed, potentially angry and bitter. I refuse to let life changes have that much control. In the end, life changes. Inevitable. Good or bad, the way I respond makes the difference.
Your turn: How do you respond to changes in your life?