Change. It’s the time of year we embrace it. Change our weight. Change our attitude. Change our career path. We make resolutions, determined to be different in the New Year – to change.
Other changes we fiercely resist. Familiarity is a comfortable companion. While routine rules, different drools. We like status quo. But change, as they say, is inevitable.
Death ushers in the most severe change to our lives. We may face financial changes. Housing changes. Widows may be ejected from couples groups. And be forced change friends.
While we struggle to manage the outward changes, our inward state of living has been upended. We felt secure. Now we feel unsafe. We felt needed, useful. Now we don’t know our purpose.
I’m embracing changes this season. I think my internal desire to change, to do things differently in 2020, is being mirrored in the rooms of my house as I purge belongings and tidy up spaces.
I’ve experienced seasons, however, when I fought change with ferocity. I didn’t want to let go of my parents’ home. I loved sensing them there, among the belongings they left behind.
Change is difficult, and when it is forced upon us, it is unsettling. But I’ve found that the best time to change things that I want or need to change is to coordinate with the change that is being forced upon me. I know it sounds a little crazy. Add more change to change? Yes.
I think that launching into healthy changes we’ve desired gives us purpose and focus as we tackle uncontrollable changes. It also feels easier. Our lives already are going through an upheaval. What’s one more change?
Consider what behavioral scientist and motivational speaker Steve Maraboli says about change in his book, Life, the Truth, and Being Free:
“Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don’t.”
(Note: In the 1st year of grief, resist making monumental changes if at all possible. We aren’t ourselves exactly, and we may making crushingly bad decisions while emotionally strung out.)
I recall the summer of 2007, the year after my father died. I was still grieving his death when my then-boyfriend dismissed himself from our relationship.
I took a week off from work and launched into a project to sand and stain my kitchen cabinets. In my mind, I was getting ready for the real Mr. Right who’d arrive later. I’d have the house all nice for him. In launching this project to change my living environment a bit, I was giving myself something positive to pursue in the midst of pain, in the midst of a change I hated.
In a sense, I was anchoring myself. In the sea of change, we must find something to anchor us, too.
Several months after the breakup, the man I would marry ended up at the Halloween party I threw. He had recently purchased a home to flip. We bonded over do-it-yourself projects. After we got married, he moved into my house, closer to both of our workplaces and to my mom.
See how perfectly that worked?
Change can be friend or foe – change also can be friend and foe.
We must remold our lives because of changes we do not want, but we also can regain a sense of control by taking on intended changes. In this way, we can find new purpose and new power to find a new normal after loss.
Was there a deliberate change you made that helped power you through a difficult, unwanted change of circumstances? I’d love to hear about it. What’s a change you’ve been meaning to make that you’ll launch in 2020?
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