Living in Los Angeles, it seems that people around me make major changes all the time. Not just the normal ones like getting married and having kids or changing jobs, but really significant changes that move them out of my daily life.
So, how well do I adjust to change? How do I cope with it?
I am working on three things: grieving, celebrating and re-engaging.
The grieving part I can often overlook. It’s the part where I realize that although the change is a great gain for the other person, it feels like a deep loss for me. I have intentionally told the person how much I will miss her, and been able to feel some sadness. I’ve had times of feeling angry about change, mostly because Dave and I aren’t the ones making it! (It’s kind of like “What about me? Don’t I get to change? We've lived in the same house for 36 years.”) Of course, that’s just the anger stage of grief talking.
Dave says that women do grief better than guys. Oddly, I actually somewhat enjoy the process. I think it is because when I remember my friend, I think of all the great memories of activities and conversations we have had over the years. There is a part of her that will always remain with me, in how I see things, because she has been in my life, and that brings great joy.
Celebrating this person will be easy. She has many friends who also love her as I do. I don’t know what we will do to celebrate her yet, but I know we will. We can share stories of our experience, tell her what we will miss about her and let her know about the lasting impact she has had on our lives. Celebrating her helps us adjust to the change.
The re-engaging part is last. Building new relationships, after the loss of a close one takes more time and effort than I want to give. But, it is an important, and good part of life. Building those new relationships helps create new memories and new opportunities. I also need to reconnect with my friend who is moving, and relate to her in a new way. I am prone to emotional cut-off rather than ongoing connection. So, it will take conscious effort to stay connected through the change. Thanks to all the new technologies, it will be easier than ever. Thank you Skype video!
When all is said and done, I guess change doesn't have to be so bad after all.