3 Little Questions to Help You Deal with Life’s Big Changes



“Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.” ~Karen Kaiser Clark

Change happens.

It’s often unnoticed, or it may simply be a slight nuisance. It’s sometimes uncomfortable, or excruciatingly painful. Once in a while, it's life changing.

But it’s also transforming. Sometimes I awake in the morning or I simply look out the window into the woods and I realize I’m not the person I was the day before, or even a moment ago.

That realization brings me such pleasure, to know that I am becoming a better version of me than I was. The newness, the now-ness, the opportunities to continuously morph into who I want to be is, at moments, mind-blowing. I appreciate this sort of change.

Everything changes. But we forget this, constantly. That’s because it’s sometimes downright scary to think about change.

Sure, we like the good changes—we appreciate the little ones and celebrate the big ones. But the bad ones, none of us likes those, however small they may be or even how much we may wish them away.

We become irritated when a construction zone causes us to take another route to work. We get angry when people don’t do what they said they would do. We are deeply pained when people decide they no longer want us in their lives. We grieve uncontrollably and inconsolably, and understandably so.

When I think about it, I realize I am very attached to specific expectations, certain ways of being, and the people I love most dearly.

This attachment, while often pleasurable and a source of such happiness, also causes me to feel discomfort and pain, to act simply out of habit or from fear, and to worry and grieve.

Some changes are big.

One big change in my life has been my first-born leaving home. Do you notice how I phrase this change in the present tense? I am still in the process of changing my reaction to this big change in my life, changing me.

Sure, the physical change happened quickly. She was all packed up and then she pulled out of the driveway. That change happened in an instant. Many changes do. But my change, my reaction to this change, has been gradual, and sometimes painful.

For a while now, though, I’ve seen both the positive and negative aspects of this change. It gives me so much pleasure to see this brilliant, beautiful woman live her life.

Still, it pains me not to be part of her everyday life, to be with her more often, to love her in real-time, and to parent her, really, to just be her mum.

I have spent most of her lifetime and much of my lifetime being Mum. This change of becoming two adults, who are now a long-ago and far-away daughter and mother, is taking me some time.

Sometimes change happens instantly, and sometimes it takes time, a good time, and all in good time.

That’s okay. I simply try to be mindful of this truth, that everything changes. I practice accepting this. It brings me a little peace of mind and heart, at moments.

But attachment happens.

I’ve formed attachments in my life and they’ve caused me pleasure and pain. I’m learning to practice non-attachment. In the instances when I see the faintest glimmer of this non-attachment, I know that nothing is permanent.

Knowing this, even for an instant, reminds us to appreciate and to be grateful for the good times—and it helps us during the difficult times too. With non-attachment comes acceptance, even contentment.

But for the many moments, the most of our time that we are attached to things, ways of being, and the other beings we love, we will experience the full gamut of the pleasures and pains of this human existence—the good, the bad, and the unnoticed.

When changes are noticed, or become uncomfortable, or may even be life changing, try to ask yourself three little questions.

1. Can I see this change as an opportunity?

Is there something of value somewhere in this change? Can I find something within it, a take away from which I can learn? Will I take the opportunity I’ve found and adjust or adapt to this change, to change my life, to even change me?

2. Can I react to this change by changing myself?

What thoughts and feelings do I have? Can I let go of some of them? Which ones will I allow to go? Which will I choose to express? What thoughts, words, and actions will empower me to accept this change? How will I change?

3. Can I just be with this change until I am ready to change?

Sometimes that’s all we can do. Sometimes changes are so unexpected, so painful, and so uncontrollable, we simply have to muster up enough courage just to be. And that’s okay. Because, you know what? This will change too.

Because everything changes.

When it does, try to ask yourself these three little questions. It may take some time to answer them. And that's okay.

What big changes in life have you experienced? How have these changes changed you? Are you still changing?

Photo by crsan

About Midge Greentree

Midge sometimes writes when creativity strikes, right beside the loads of laundry, piles of paperwork, and soot sprites, but mostly she's just another human being daring to live life out loud, with a little more mindfulness and lots of happy humor.

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  • Lor

    One year ago my partner of 27 years left our marriage and our home – it was one of those sudden changes. When I look back over the last 12 months I can only feel proud of the way that me and my daughters have coped and lived and loved. Each day is a choice to fight and grieve against what life may bring or to find strength and hope and light in new discoveries. Most days I find some light. Thank you for your post.

  • Hi, Lor!
    Thank you for sharing your story of your family’s big change. Despite what some may say, changes take time to work through. For me, just staying in the present moment is most helpful. Whenever the past draws me back or the future beckons, I try to focus on all that is present.
    I believe looking for and finding light on most days, especially during difficult changes, means you are choosing to create it.

  • Karen

    Last year, I got pregnant for the first time at 46 but sadly miscarried in June. Then, at the end of Nov, I lost my job of almost 15 yrs. I am learning a lot about the impact of social networking in finding a job and also the fortitude and patience required after sending out applications. The waiting is torturous at times. But, I’m still grappling with the first change. I had made peace that this part of my life might not happen but now I’m left wondering about the other side.

  • Nanadear!

    God bless you!

  • Nanadear!

    The Light is always in us and sometimes we just need a gentle little reminder that It is there. Thank you both for sharing your stories. When we share we help ourselves and the persons hearing our stories.

  • Nanadear!

    Thank you for joining in on this important conversation. Yes, sharing our stories helps us to shed light on our own situations and shine our light into the world. This connection with others is essential. At least it is for me.

    Thank you for the reminder that our light is always bright.

  • Adam Broadhead


  • Thanks for your kind word, Adam.

  • Angela Pedersen

    HA – my stay at home partner left 6 months ago. My 3 little ones and I are getting through this, but WOW, it HAS been painful. This blog has been a gift every day. I can’t imagine 27 years! LOVE AND LIGHT TO YOU!

  • Hello, Karen,

    Your strength and wisdom shine in just these few words you’ve shared.

    To know that you are at peace with the one and intend to allow the other to unfold as it will is such a lovely place to be, despite the profound pain that has passed.

    Thank you for sharing your story. It gives others who are dealing with the pain of change hope, knowing that peace will eventually come.

  • I had a big life change four years ago when I was laid off from my job. I saw that change as an opportunity. I took advantage of my time off and spent lots of time with my wife and daughter. It’s not often that you get to take a three month break in the middle of your career to spend with your family. The lay off was shocking at first, but once I saw the opportunity in it, I was able to really take advantage of it and put the extra time to good use.

  • Wow, Eric!

    What a fantastic way to see the opportunity in that sudden change. You unwrapped the gift by simply letting go of the worry.


  • Carlo Ami

    This is beautiful and will touch many. Simple, brief, to the point, as I do my best to emulate in my own writings. This may especially touch those who have recently lost connection with someone important in their lives—a young adult to independence or a relative or lover or friend to death. If you know someone this might touch, please share it with them.

  • Hello, Angela,

    I can’t imagine the change you’re going through–and your three little loves. How difficult it must be for all of you.

    It sounds like you’re doing very well in terms of acceptance. Just writing that you’re “getting through this” is quite affirming.


  • Carlo Ami

    Please know that you are loved. Trust your power to move through it, rather than allow the mind to wallow in it.

  • Carlo Ami

    …and we help raise the collective consciousness.

  • Carlo Ami

    I love this, Eric. And, as you may be willing, sharing this story will touch lives just as the story from Midge is doing today.

  • Carlo Ami

    Please consider a possibility, Karen: At this time in our collective evolution, many of those who are closest to making great leaps in consciousness are being pushed by the imaginary ego to abandon our conscious nature. Even though it is imaginary, the net apparent effect of borderline unfolding is that ego will fight most fiercely as it is in the process of evaporating from even the imagination. It is vanquished in the same way our nasty institutions are being vanquished: by loving it and by the removing all other attention and support from it. This is one of the great secrets, as I see it. And this is the time to summon trust and courage.

  • Hello, Carlo,

    Thanks so much for your kind words. I think you’ve described change simply yet profoundly–the loss of connection. That is the source of the pain brought about by change.

    On another note, your words about my writing (“simple, brief, to the point”) mean so much to me, as this has been something I’ve worked to improve.

    Many thanks.

  • Yes, we do!

  • Richard

    I love this as well. I’m very happy for you. Best wishes! 🙂

  • The Curious Cat

    I loved this post and I am going to reblog it and link to you! It is certainly food for thought and I think it is really useful and helpful for me in my life – and for others. Thank you xxx

  • Hello, Curious Cat,

    Many thanks for your kind words, and your kindness in sharing this post with others. I’m glad to know it will help others who are experiencing big changes.

    I believe the more we show compassion and kindness toward ourselves and others, and the more we share our stories, the more love will be shared.


  • jdbt

    Thanks for this post. Last February I left my abusive husband (of 14 years) with my children, bought a new house, and am still in therapy. I appreciate the 3 points, although I think they might be backwards! I started with 3, am moving into 2, and have my sights set on 1. I haven’t chosen the easy road, but I know I’m definitely on the right path. This site has definitely helped along the way. Thank you.

  • Caroline

    I’ts more simply said and read, than do. Well, the most big change in my life till now and the most recently change is a drama, painfull and just unexpect break up with a person I thing will be with me till end of time. With solid plans of weeding and life together, that really hurts me and break me down for months. Lessons are too much. NO attachments, no expectations, live the moment, don’t worry more than necesary for the future, everything change always, be consistent, conscious and love myself firts for can give good love to other, don’t blame me for who I’am. Now I’m more stronger, more perceptive, love me more and stay more time with things and people I love (job, hobbies, family, friends). Now I know that i not death of love, jeje. I’m still changing, i feel fear sometimes, but most part of time I feel like I’m discover and know deeply a wonderful and keeper girl that I leave five year ago. So is nice and illuminating reconnect with me in a new way.

  • Hello, Caroline,

    I agree, sometimes it is more simply written and read than done. It is during those times that we must simply try to just be, with that change, until we are ready to change (question number 3 above).

    That you are discovering and getting to know a wonderful woman most of the time leads me to think this change has brought about something very good.

    I appreciate you for sharing your story, as difficult as it is.


  • Hooray for you, JDBT!

    Thank you for sharing your story. Your self-love, courage, and strength are admirable. And your words will inspire others to make those brave changes like you did.

    As you know, to free oneself from an abusive relationship takes so much more than asking these simple little questions, even in backward order.

    So glad I am for you, and so grateful too.


  • blissfullone

    I stumbled onto this blog today and now I know that it was not a stumble. Last week I abruptly resigned for my job of 2 1/2yrs where I have grown and helped mold a product that was set to be the exemplary program model in the nation. I have ate, slept and breathed this organization and it’s work for over 2yrs of my life. I now wake up a week later, jobless, yet at peace. I keep wondering if I am in shock and if I will go through ranges of emotion. I still feel at peace and when anxiousness over all that I have just walked away from creeps in, I have an inner knowing that this is supposed to be and had to be for my evolution. I feel like something new is about to be birthed or revealed and I am excited and very grateful to have been led to this blog today.
    Peace and Blessings to you all

  • Blissfullone, what a beautiful and peaceful description of your big change. I think sometimes we just know that it’s time to leave. I left a position about ten years ago when I realized staying was not good for me. I sold my house and ventured out, without a home or a position, but with my peace of mind restored. Sometimes the realization dawns on us gradually, other times it hits us smack-dab in our hearts. And, yes, doubt and even anxiousness creep in. I just remember to be still, and let them go.

  • Ofa Atu

    I have finally decided that after the hundredth argument and falling out with my sister that I am done . It makes me sad and it hurts but being around her hurts me too . I have finally decided that I no longer want to be a part of her life which is hard and I love her four children . But I can no longer take her verbal abuse and sometimes physical . I am 30 and she is 38 yrs old. Now that I have decided to move on I have all these memories flooding back in to my head of us growing up and can remember more times of her being mean to me then being a loving older sister . And constantly putting me down . I am confused hurt and this article did help because that is what I am going through – is change ….. and this one is painful . But it has helped me put some perspective on things and helped me realize that yes it will be painful but I will be okay .Thank you .

  • Someone once told me that she knew it was time to end a relationship when the pain of staying was greater than the pain of leaving. Her words still haunt me because it sounded like she was willing to live in pain. The pain of staying continues if the behaviors continue. The pain of leaving heals. When a person (no matter who) repeatedly behaves in caustic or toxic ways, the healthy relationship, if there ever was one, has already ended. Self protection and preservation, telling the person that there will be no relationship if these behaviors continue, is critical. As much as it hurts, the pain gives way to peace of mind and heart. May you find peace with this situation.