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Friday, June 10, 2016

What's the Frequency: The process of getting used to major life changes...

A few years ago after me and my now ex split up, I couldn't live at my place anymore.  As we were not in a good place in the divorce process, ultimately we couldn't effectively agree what to do with it and it went back to the bank.

Anyway, a friend of mine opened her place up to me and I am eternally grateful to have had that place to start to piece my life back together.  But, in the meantime, I remember waking up day after day wondering what the hell happened?  Why was I there at not my own place, with my old life with my late brother still alive, employed at my job of 12 years, coming home to or picking up my young daughter, etc.

It felt like one day I had a set life, a set pattern, a set of circumstances and 'the next day' it was seemingly all gone and I was in a completely different set of circumstances.  In other words, there is a shock and adjustment to major life changes--especially if they are perceived as negative.  In talking to friends and acquaintances who have faced major adjustments like divorce, death, job loss, etc, I've heard or sensed similar responses:

  • Bewilderment - A sense of wonder as to what are we doing 'here' in our current circumstances?
  • Disconnect - A sense that even though our current situation clearly is what it is, it can't REALLY be our current situation.  In other words, our current circumstances are just a 'dream'.
  • Longing - A wish that things we back to 'normal', even when 'normal' wasn't necessarily that great.  Our old circumstances at least fit like a well-worn shoe.
  • Mourning - A sense of sadness and loss.

People are usually more adaptable than they realize.  Change that we couldn't see making it past or darkness from which we couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel eventually become adjustments and acceptance--even if reluctantly.  That being said, I see two exception responses: 
  • Sometimes a change is so dramatic that even though we survive it, we really don't bounce back.
    • A great example of this is when a parent loses a child senselessly.  As a parent, I know that even if I survived this, I would have a hard time ever being myself again.
  • Sometimes we are so entrenched that we find ourselves unable to adapt to it at all.
    • We see this with older couples that have been married for a long time.  One spouse passes away and the surviving spouse struggles to get by at all, sometimes apparently dying soon thereafter.

I guess the takeaway out of all, I have found that changes while difficult are usually survivable, you have to just have something or someone and/or a higher power to hold onto while the winds of change blow in our life.