How well do you handle change or life changing events in this fast paced world of ours?
It seems to me there is always something new to face. Granted some changes are good, some bad, some gradual and some exceedingly speedy (technology for instance) but the fact is nothing stays the same.
Some of the most difficult of these are life changes; events that happen unexpectedly smack you upside the head and set you in a new direction.
I’ve had a few of those these last few years and recently I’ve spent time reviewing some of my own life changes and have come to the realization when compared to a few years ago…even I am not the same person I used to be. (At all!)
In most ways the difference is positive, but I have to admit, there is a part of me that feels it’s a shame that things don’t stay the same.
I guess the reason I think it’s a shame in some ways is because I’ve been blessed with a pretty awesome life and many of my fondest memories are from my childhood and teenage years although I am sure that one day, I’ll look back to ‘today’ and feel the same.
Lately though I have loved spending time in the past, reminiscing back to my younger days. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed closing my eyes and remembering the times I galloped across a field at break-neck speed on my trusty companion Limbo without a care in the world… or partying on the beach around a campfire with my friends.
I’ve enjoyed looking back so much that I’ve almost had to slap myself to bring me back to the here and now and depending on the moment … I’ve come down with a might bump!
These memories have solidified the truth behind one of my favourite topics; one I write about often and stress the importance of living in the moment and the importance of gratitude and to enjoy everyone and everything in life while we can.
The older I get, the more I preach this and I suppose it’s because I have now lived through enough to know we can’t count on anything and never know how long things or people in our lives will be here to love and enjoy.
Almost daily I notice swift changes occurring in my family as well. My children Rosie now (8), and Joe (6) are growing like weeds. To me, this is amazing… it only seems like a few months ago I brought them home as brand new bundles.
Today they are skateboarding, riding bikes, cheerleading, enjoying martial arts, playing with my iPhone (and even teaching me a thing or two)… not to mention downloading their own music from the iTunes Store. (Sigh) good grief… where has the time gone?
I’ve also noticed their independence grow in leaps and bounds to the point I am no longer “allowed” to kiss them in front of their school friends, and some days when enter the school, I’m lucky if I’m worthy of the ‘behind the back wave”
I think one of the most shocking realizations to me though is just how different life is today and how quickly time flies.
You see, up until a few years ago, I just sailed through life ‘tickety boo’ without much thought. Sure, I made progress, worked hard and managed to accomplish some amazing things … but looking back, I never really took the time to embrace it.
Life seemed to move at a manageable pace. Everything naturally fell into place and I never seemed to have anything of a pressing nature to contend with.
Then one fine day, out of … “who knows where” life took an unexpected turn and came crashing down like a ton of bricks.
As some of you may already know, my marriage went sideways and ended in divorce.
This was a real eye opener for me and frankly I hate the fact that things worked out that way and still struggle with it from time to time. I certainly never expected ‘that’ would happen to me. After all you don’t get married to one day become adversaries do you?
To rub salt in the wound, I also made the decision to sell my beloved family business… one I’d grown from the ground up, in order to stay home with my children.
The end result was that I was left with no career, no income, a broken home and no idea what the future held. What the heck?
At the time of the upheaval, all I felt like doing was curling up in the fetal position and refusing to participate in daily life.
Thankfully I snapped out of it and recognized that nothing good would come out of that and knew I would have to make some choices. I knew I would have to grab the world by the short hairs and turn this life changing experience into something better and furthermore, “I” was the only person who could do it.
I won’t tell you it didn’t take courage. It did actually, and some of the challenges I’ve faced have not been an enjoyable ride.
On the upside however, though completely outside my comfort zone and knowing I had to do “something”, I took the steps to start my online business… and thankfully (for me anyway) chose a business in the personal development industry.
Its funny really how things fall into place and like the saying goes, “when the student is ready, the teacher appears”. I do believe that was the case for me and happened for a reason likely due to the fact I knew that the change had to start with me… from the ‘inside’ before I could shine again on the outside.
Much to my surprise, through this experience there have been many additional unexpected positives.
Some were as a direct result of my challenge, but most of them due to the new mindset I’d forced myself to develop as well as being open to new opportunities.
The biggest blessing is I now stay home to raise my children. If life had not taken this turn, I would have continued to leave the house every day to run my business for 12-14 hours at a time, and my mom would have ended up raising them for me.
I now know I will be eternally grateful for this opportunity of spending this precious time with them during their growing years and I am relieved that I won’t look back in 10 years regretting the fact that I missed out.
Also, due to building my online business and plucking up the courage to put myself out there, I have met dozens of new friends from all over the world; true friends who have lifted me up and supported me in ways I never though possible.
I’ve learned to use the internet to my advantage as well, though I’ve had a few struggles along the way (as we all do) and have had to learn new things by stepping outside of my comfort zone, the changes to my mindset and the determination to become stronger has been the most significant personal factor in creating this new life.
I suppose I’m telling you all of this is because it feels good to share it occasionally, but also because I’ve had the opportunity to talk to so many people who have suffered similarly… and knowing what I know now, I’m able to share advice based on first hand experience that ‘change’ is definitely what you make of it.
I honestly didn’t know before (probably didn’t give it a thought) that many people at some point or another face some sort of earth shattering life changing experience.
I’ve also learned that no matter how hard we’re hit or brought to our knees, the world doesn’t stop just because we’d like it to. In other words, it’s for us to handle like it or lump it!
Our only alternative or choice to pull out and progress is to look at our situation as an opportunity for improvement and to get busy to make things better.
The alternative of course is to remain stagnant and play the world’s smallest violin, but I’m sure you’ll agree nothing good will come out of that.
I do recognize we all face different circumstances, caused my different things. Your life changing experience might be due to losing a loved one, becoming unemployed or being hurt by a family member or friend.
Regardless of what “it” might be, I do know that during our trials we always pine for our lives to return to normal.
The truth is though, that life likely never will return to ‘normal’ after a real doozie, … but depending on how you handle your situation you can start a new life by design if you play your cards right and decide to stand on your own two feet.
The most interesting conclusion I’ve drawn from both my observation and experience, is that it seems to me that it is the more painful or tough to handle changes that really shape our lives.
I have learned to look at unexpected life changing events as a wake up calls and I’m convinced that many things happen to force us to be the best we can be.
I also believe that there is good and bad in everything but always the opportunity for improvement as well as to learn many lessons along the way.
If you’re facing a challenging life changing experience at the moment, why not take the time to envision your ideal situation?
With this visualization, determine where you could make some new positive adjustments and set a few goals to work towards it. Once clear on your goals and you’ve determined how to become satisfied with life again, adjust your attitude and start taking the steps to reach them.
I am sure with the right mindset you will realize life holds many new and exciting opportunities there for the taking if you choose to participate.
Besides, life really is too short to focus on the things that go wrong when there is so much that can be made right.
One of my favourite quotes is by Dr. Wayne Dyer: ‘when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”.
It’s true, so why not make the decision to embrace all life changes and life changing events as life lessons instead. You just might find they’ll shape and strengthen you to discover personal power you never knew you had to enhance your new life in ways you never imagined.
If you’d like to learn more about the steps I took to handle change during a difficult time, feel free to contact me at any time.
If you’d like to share some of your life changing experiences, please leave me a comment below!