On a hot sunny morning, in July of 2016, I sat on the beach in Wrightsville, North Carolina. I looked out at the expanse of the ocean, which normally represented freedom and hope to me, but that morning it was a blur. I had just learned that another major life change was about to happen, and I couldn’t see past that immediate moment of shock.
I had already had seven major life changes in the past three years. I couldn’t imagine another one. I had handled the other ones, okay, but I wouldn’t handle this one with much grace.
Three weeks ago I started a new job. More change. I have an understanding now that major life change is a normal part of life, and I am determined to face it head on.
Instead of sitting on the beach and staring aimlessly, what if we handle big life change by going creative? We can do this if we “see” the change, accept it as part of our lives, and then move into action.
Some see change as easy and exciting.
Some see change as disruptive and upsetting. Threatening the status quo.
Change interrupts relationships and our current way of life.
There is often a limit on what we can tolerate.
1. Analyze the Situation
No matter how hard it is, look at the situation and examine it. Write down the facts about the situation. Take an almost scientific approach at this point.
What are the processes involved in this situation? You are at point A, even if you don’t like it, so what will happen between now and the end point of this change?
Record key events if applicable. If you are moving there are clear markers to that event. You can write those down. If someone you know is moving you will still have key events that will happen between now and when they move.
This is hard to do when you are anxious or upset about change, but possible. We are going creative. Concentrate on that. Brainstorm how you can respond to the change. Record alternatives and capture ideas.
This step can be fun. Capture ideas by writing, journaling, typing, take pictures, paint, draw, sculpt or whatever! Get creative. The motion of creativity will bring you much needed pleasure in a difficult time.
3. Let it simmer.
Let the pot simmer for a while. Stir it from time to time, and add seasonings as needed. While your ideas simmer get busy doing other stuff. As you may or may not have noticed life is moving on whether you like it or not. So get in it, don’t forget to check the stew though.
Hopefully, as you let things simmer you will have an Aha moment. Anticipate that you will. The moment when you have a clear understanding of what you can do. This will work!
The change may still be hard, but having a constructive way to navigate it will make it easier for us. Responding actively to change will help us to accept and respond to it, and will lower our anxiety.
The process of creativity will bring us pleasure during a time that may be filled with sadness, fear, anger, and anxiety.
Getting a new job is one of many life changes that I have undergone the past four years, yet I have analyzed the situation, brainstormed ways to handle this change, and am letting the pot simmer.
Instead of staring aimlessly at the ocean, I am waiting for my Aha moment! Handling this change has become exciting.
Wishing you well as you handle change. We can do this.