I had breakfast yesterday with a group of women. One of them brought a unique wedding invitation she’d just received. The RSVP was an interactive reply card inviting memories about the bride or groom and ending with this question: “What’s the best advice you have for the couple?” We were a diverse group of women: one divorced after many years of marriage. One married a couple years and 4 days away from the due date of her first child. Two women with long-term first marriages and me, divorced in the dark ages and remarried 25 years this fall.
We kicked the question around for awhile and seriously considered, “Beats the hell out of me.” Thinking that might not bring the laugh it gave us, we ended up with this: Expect change. Be flexible. Enjoy the ride.
Rarely do our major life plans follow the script we saw playing out in our early 20s. Children get hooked on drugs, or drop out of school, or turn out with just plain strange ideas about life and the color of their hair. Your church, perhaps the heartbeat of your childhood or marriage, splits over the color of carpet for the new sanctuary or the new pastor’s theology. Pregnancy becomes an illusive monthly dream. A friend betrays. Employers implement lay-offs in less than ethical ways. Your aging mom suffers a stroke and needs care in ways you can’t meet. You spend years in school and develop a career only to find out it’s not what you want to do the rest of your life. You look at your spouse one day and ask, “What was I thinking?”
Thankfully happy surprises appear along the way too or we’d all descend into the depths of depression! But the field of positive psychology provides guidance for managing when life goes off script. Accept that Change Happens. And when it does, acknowledge the hit, grieve the loss it occasions, and know–absolutely know–there’s life on the other side. You can do this on your own or with the help of a good friend. But nothing beats a skilled therapist who will bring an objectivity to the evaluation and process that close friends, by definition, will not. Find one.
At the Posi-Palooza concert I recently attended in Ft. Myers, Florida, I heard some great musician/song-writers, including Jana Stansfield, Jami Luna, Susie Hulcher, Richard Mekdeci, and Sue K. Riley. Sue Riley (pictured with me below) sang a song entitled Everything Changes, I Can Change Too and I knew I had to share it with you. Her CD by the same name is entirely focused on the theme of embracing change.
I listened to it again while making dinner last night and both laughed (dare you to listen to the spoof “Yoga Retreat” and not laugh) and cried. Mostly I smiled and felt encouraged. Sue graciously agreed that I could make her song available to you and I’d encourage you to exercise a little self-care and obtain the CD at http://www.suekriley.com/.
[button style=”green” link=”http://familyresolutions.us/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/04-Everything-Changes.m4a”]Listen Here: Everything Changes[/button]
So whatever change you are facing, an unexpected, tragic transition or a happy surprise, Be flexible. Expect change. Enjoy the ride.
Wishing you wisdom,
Deborah Bennett Berecz