Yesterday, Friday, September 4th, was the anniversary of the passing of my Step-Father, Mark. He was a very patient man with me and taught me more of life’s lessons than he realized. He would tell his friends that Jimmy Buffet saved me from rap music in the 80’s. Beyond guiding my taste in music, I’d argue that he saved me from taking some truly wrong paths in my youth. I often reflect on his life and the lessons I was able to glean from him.
This past week, I thought of my Dad’s life story, observed my children and wife write a new chapter in their own stories as they navigated the beginning of a new school year, and then I heard the old REO Speedwagon song “Roll with the Changes”. I couldn’t help but think how we can navigate life’s transitions by rewriting our own story.
So how can we “turn some pages…”? Here is a three-step method “to keep on rolling”.
An unexpected job loss. The death of a loved one. Losing your home in a fire. A major illness.
Life is never the same after you experience these kinds of unexpected transitions. Your lifestyle might change. Your relationships might change. Your daily routine might change. And your long-term personal, professional, and financial goals might have to change as well.
Letting in feelings like sadness, embarrassment, and fear can be very challenging. If you're having trouble expressing yourself to your spouse or another confidant, try journaling. Getting your thoughts and emotions down on paper can help open you up for the conversations you're going to need to have as you navigate through this new transition.
Now that you've accepted this change in your life, you need to figure out how you're going to adapt to it. Big transitions often feel so overwhelming that they can be paralyzing. Where do you start?
Start small. Start with today. Get “unstuck”.
What is one thing on your list that you can accomplish today and that you can build on tomorrow? If your doctor says you have to start eating better, make a new shopping list. Need to exercise more? Buy a pair of running shoes. Brush up your resume so you can start a job hunt. Register for an online class that will help you make a career change. If it’s time to tighten the family belt, cancel that streaming subscription you never use.
Racking up smaller daily wins will make this new transition feel a little more manageable every single day. You might also create some new habits that will make you healthier, happier, and more productive.
In the moment, unexpected transitions can feel like an end. But as you gain personal momentum from your new routine, you'll start to see that there are opportunities ahead of you as well. I would argue that as you wrap up the last chapter, you are also simultaneously starting to write a new one.
Some of the details in this revised or new chapter might be a little different than you imagined. But not all change is bad. Maybe, instead of retiring to that beachfront condo, you remodel the family home and have your grandkids over more often. If you have to hang up your tennis racket, taking long walks with your spouse could be a new way to exercise, unwind, and spend time together. Now that one phase of your career is over, it might be time to promote yourself to CEO of your own company.
If you’re really struggling to see a way through an unexpected transition, here’s an easy daily win to get you started: get in touch with us. We have tools available to get you started creating a (financial) lifeline to help with your transitions. We can work in-person or over a video chat to figure out if any of your anticipated transitions need to be edited. We can also coordinate with other professionals like your attorney or accountant to iron out any other major adjustments you might need to make.
No matter how your life story continues to change, we’re here to help you make the next chapter the best one yet.
Now for some great hair, late 70’s fashion, and a good rock tune…
Please remember that we are “here” and available for you. If you have any questions or concerns, financial or otherwise, please do not hesitate to call or email. If you have friends, family, or neighbors you feel would benefit from a conversation with me, I’m more than happy to have a call or jump on a Zoom meeting with them.
As always, I hope that you are doing well, and staying safe & healthy!