How does one navigate life changes gracefully?
I have come to ask myself this question after a particularly challenging 12 months. I had always assumed that my life would tick along quite nicely once I reached my fifties, and I am constantly amazed at how many challenges I continue to face.
Of course, we could be truly optimistic, and call these challenges ‘opportunities’ – opportunities for growth, for learning new things, for overcoming adversity. Forward movement also proves to us that we are alive, that we are capable of thought and action.
Life changes affect us in different ways. At the time, it may seem that we would never recover from the enormity of the event, our thoughts and feelings about what has transpired and how we were affected. With some time and space to reflect, there is always something lost, something gained.
When I left my previous job after 7 ½ years I could not imagine life outside of the confines of that institution. While I missed my close friends there, I soon came to value the diverse and broad thinking business community that makes up ‘the rest of the workers’. I ‘lost’ the security of a permanent position in a dead end job, yet gained the freedom to express myself and be valued for my work and aspirations.
My close relationships have not escaped the change cycles either. Perhaps we are more prepared for ages and stages related changes, yet sometimes those come sooner than expected. Dementia can rob us of years of communication with a close family member – it starts slowly yet transforms your loved one before your eyes. Younger family members may move in their own orbits, and over time those relationships also have the capacity to slide into nothingness if we don’t nurture and value them. People I thought would be with me forever are slipping away, consciously or unconsciously. Do you ever truly ‘lose’ those connections with Dear Ones?
People change. When large life events happen, we respond in our own unique ways. Sometimes this requires that we change perspective, we gain insight, we transform from the inside out. It is no surprise, then, that we may no longer ‘fit’ in our Love Relationships. That also happened to me. My partner and I separated. I ‘lost’ my best friend, my confidante, my lover. In turn, I ‘found’ my Inner Voice. I reconnected to my deepest beliefs and called on my inner reserves. I found that I really like Me.
Which brings me back to my original question – How does one navigate life changes gracefully – especially when you feel lost, insecure, alone, sad or downright angry?
I realised that I needed to ask for help, something that was so difficult for me to acknowledge. I called on trusted friends for inspiration and guidance. I worked to maintain great physical health. And I worked with a coach to change my mind-set. I am still navigating monumental changes. I am also learning to dance gracefully through all the areas of my life. It is a work in progress, full of changes, and now it feels more expectantly pleasing than daunting.
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