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Embracing Lifequakes

by Beth on May 14th, 2021

A recent article in the Washington Post reported a survey showing that 66% of people returning to work after the pandemic are considering changing fields. This is not as surprising as it may sound. Disruptions in our lives often cause us to rethink things. They provide an opportunity for us to reevaluate our lives and consider new possibilities.

In his book, Life is in the Transitions: Mastering Change at Any Age, Bruce Feiler refers to lifequakes as signature events that upend and reshape our lives. A global pandemic certainly counts as one! He found that 90% of people come to view these life changes as something positive over time.

Post-traumatic growth is the positive psychological change experienced as a result of the struggle with highly challenging life circumstances. Experiencing adversity builds our resilience. We learn coping skills that can help us weather the next storm. Difficult experiences often strengthen our relationships and give us a renewed appreciation for life. They can also lead to a desire for change.

Even minor disruptions that force us to do things in a new way can result in improvements in our lives. In 2014, workers on London’s underground went on strike. Some of the Tube stations were closed, forcing people to find alternative routes to work. When the stations reopened, many of the commuters did not return to their prior routine because they had discovered a better route.

The pandemic has disrupted all of our lives, and it has caused many people to reassess what they want to do and how they want to work. There are restaurant and healthcare workers who would like to find jobs where they will be less exposed if there are future outbreaks. Others want to move away from the travel or entertainment industries and into jobs that are less vulnerable to pandemics. There are people who want a career that gives them more meaning. And after spending more time at home with their families, some people realize they don’t want to return to jobs with long commutes or excessive travel.

According to Feiler, most of us will experience three to five lifequakes. Rather than resisting them, we are better off accepting them as an integral part of life and embracing the positive changes they can bring. How have you grown as a result of your experiences over this past year? What strategies helped you to cope? Who helped you to get through the challenges? What new possibilities might you want to pursue?

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