Marni Jameson: When life changes hit home, don't fear

Changes are part of life. Learning to adapt to those changes is important, says columnist Marni Jameson.
By Marni Jameson Published: August 30, 2014

I never set out to be the poster child for change. But I believe I qualify. Just since July, I have gone through more changes than a newborn: I have gotten a new house, new car, new job, and new cell phone number (as a result of new job).

I feel like I’m in the witness protection program.

This is piled on top of many more changes over the past year. Just for sick fun I’ll recap: I’ve moved three times, got divorced, sent my youngest off to college, and started dating. (Yeep!)

Although I am not out to win the “Most Life Changes” contest, if there were one, could we agree that I’d win? That would make me feel better, somehow.

Why am I telling you all this in a home column? Because, I have never been able to talk about home design without talking about home life. Life events affect home life the way tossed pebbles affect a pond.

Hence the expression: “That hits home.”

Whether you’re suddenly single or newly married, whether the kids have left the nest or a baby is on the way, whether a new job causes you to move out or an aging parent moves in, whether you buy a new home or sell an old one, you will feel the ripples, if not the tsunami waves, right where you live.

You can swim with the tide, sink with the wreckage, or hold on through the white water for dear beautiful, unpredictable life.

While I wouldn’t recommend my life of change on steroids anymore than I would recommend traveling at galactic speed without a spaceship, I can offer some advice to those contemplating or navigating change, including changes you didn’t ask for. For help, I tapped one of my favorite life-change experts Russell Friedman, author of many books including “Moving On.”

“The essence of life is change,” said Friedman of Sherman Oaks, Calif. He said any change, even good change, brings feelings of grief, which he defines as “the conflicting feelings caused by the end of or change in a familiar pattern or behavior.”

“And what do you call the end of or change in an entire familiar life? Good or bad, change causes unsettling feelings because the brain craves sameness,” he said. “But that’s no reason to dodge it.”

Here are some ways Friedman suggests to move forward when considering tough changes that will hit home:

• Face the fear. Fear is a normal reaction to change. It’s smart to be scared of the unknown, but if you allow fear to dominate, you scare yourself into inactivity, Friedman said, adding that fear keeps many people stuck. Don’t ignore it. Acknowledge it, and move on.

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