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Tips From A Therapist Making a Major Life Change After 50
My husband and I have both been therapists for years and are making a cross country move from our home of 23 years in Wisconsin to Taos, NM. So what terrific coping skills have I developed in my work as a therapist that will make this, or any other major life change (ie. Retirement, RVing fulltime and giving up a brick and mortar home, caring full time for grandchildren, etc.) easier? There are a few ideas I can share with you:
1. First of all, just like climbing a mountain, I need to take one step at a time. Whether you are trying to come to terms with a partner retiring, or taking to the road full-time or moving to a new location, you will adjust better and more quickly if you can break the process down into steps and take one to them at a time. The first thing we needed to do was obtain a mailing address; in our town, this is via a PO Box. The first weekday of our trip out this spring, we made a trip to the post office to reserve our box. Three days later we could pick up our keys and new address. Once we had the address, it was on to choosing the internet service.
2. We also realized during that trip that it would be best to wait until we were actually living there to decide on television service and a new cell phone provider. Once the decision was made to wait, the pressure was lifted. If I let myself, I can simply run away with all the choices to be made. This brings me to my second coping skill: I need to keep myself focused on the here and now and not get too far ahead of myself.
3. Step three—Take a break from all of this change to allow myself to simply live. Focusing on the move 24/7 makes it difficult to enjoy what I have and do in the present. I need to give myself permission to NOT be thinking, planning, packing and arranging all of the time.
4. Finally, I have learned that I need to trust that all will work out as it is meant to in the end. While the future may not look exactly as we have planned, I can accept that it will look as it is meant to be. I cannot know everything that will happen, or in what order. Further, I am a believer in the idea that all things happen for a reason and that we should not know what lies around every corner. Remember, as the saying goes, “Life is what happens when we are busy making plans.” Personally, I would hate to miss it.
I will keep you posted on my progress. Just because I know what I should be doing, does not mean it will be easy. If you, also, are in the midst of a major life change, I offer these four suggestions in the event they may help you as well. And I would love to hear your stories; let me know about your progress and struggles along the way.
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