Transitioning Through a Lifequake

As recent circumstances have clearly illustrated, life is full of significant events that change an individual’s course irretrievably.  These “lifequakes” that disrupt our way of living occur more often than one might imagine. According to a recent Today Mind and Body report, people go through three to five huge events in their life as well as smaller transitions every year or so.   Older adults who have gone through these major transitions understand how change, as messy, emotional and frightening as it may be can also lead to greater meaning and satisfaction in life.

Roughly half of life’s big transitions like losing a job, receiving a diagnosis of a serious health condition, or having a spouse cheat on you are involuntary.  Life can be forever altered by natural disasters, a significant recession, a tragedy, or as we are now experiencing a worldwide pandemic. 

The other half are voluntary lifequakes that might include getting married, having children, moving to a new country, or leaving your job to pursue new opportunities.  But whether major events are voluntary or non-voluntary, they require one to face their emotions and fears and move forward through the uncertainty and messiness to reach the other side of transition and emerge anew.  

Today show hosts recently interviewed Author Bruce Feiler who used his own experiences to help people facing huge life changes cope better with his new book “Life Is in the Transitions:  Mastering Change at Any Age”.  He hopes his work will help people not only face their personal lifequake but meet the process with greater success by confronting emotions, letting go of the past, navigating changes and creating new habits, and ultimately revealing the new version of themselves to others.  

Tips for transitions

  • Write down your fears
  • Face your emotions
  • Find the silver lining; compare how things could be worse
  • Get to work doing something positive; finish a project, make a pie, clean something
  • Consider what gives you meaning and how you want to spend your time

At some point, we all will be faced with major events that change life’s journey; to successfully transition, we need to be able to pivot and ask ourselves what not only gives us joy but also what gives our lives meaning.  

“Within crisis are the seeds of opportunity”.   Marilyn Monroe