The Rules Have Changed. You Should Too.

In the 21st century, somebody or something has changed the rules about how our world works. ~Eddie Obeng

Chaos Reigns

Life isn’t about following the rules, putting your time in and being taken care of when you’re older anymore. The world changed when we weren’t looking, and we need to catch up.

Doug and I have weathered regular change in our lives, partly because of the nature of work we’ve done. Most of our work has been creative but transitory in nature. We’re tired of having to start over in life, which is one of the reasons we’re working out, once and for all, what we’ll be doing until we pass into the monkey hereafter.

I’m what?

Doug asked me about a time where change occurred unexpectedly and what I did to adapt.  A time that comes to mind is when one change started an series of events that transformed my life completely, and led to where I am today.

Doug the student, way back when...

Doug the student, way back when…

About twelve years ago I worked for a company that builds rides for Six Flags and similar theme parks. I was a set builder, painter, mold-maker and sculptor…

I was pretty much involved in all aspects of production, and thought I was indispensable.

I just returned from a month long stay in Europe, working on installing a new ride at Walibi Belgium. My intention was to take some time off work and enjoy being home.

I didn’t realize how much time I would actually have off though.

Sixty percent of the workforce was let go with no notice, including me. We were told that the ride business took a downturn and there was no more work. Two weeks pay, a thank you and goodbye, and I was unemployed.

My daughter was three years old at the time, and I was the only source of income for our home. I felt lost and frightened… I had no idea how I was going to pay our mortgage.

Work was scarce, especially for someone with my skill set. After a couple weeks of fruitless searching, I decided to return to college and earn a degree in History.

It wasn’t  an easy time.I took out grants and loans to live on.My (then) wife found full time work which allowed me to be a full time student. We made it through, but at the cost of our marriage. My life was change upon change…

I ended up moving back in with my parents for a while. School and my daughter became my priorities. With my degree in hand, I set out to find a job teaching, and ended up as a public servant. The changes kept coming.

I worked for six years until my injuryThe rules are changing again, but this time, so am I. Twelve years ago I still thought in terms of “career” and “retirement”. I thought if I worked hard and long enough, I would be taken care of. Now, I know better…

So, What’s different now?

I’m married again, in a different house and life is much better than it was twelve years ago. I’m starting over again though. But this time, I know what to do. I’m creating a life where I depend on myself. No one will be able to fire me, no one will be in control of my future but me.

I wish I made the decision to take control of my life twelve years ago, but I didn’t. I plodded along, hoping to fall into a “good job”. I didn’t, and here I am again.

I have the wisdom gained from the past twelve years to help me succeed. I wasn’t ready then to succeed on my own, but I am now. Everything happened as it should, and I’m prepared to move forward.

Exercise

Think back to a time when change occurred unexpectedly for you. Ask yourself the following questions and write about the experience:

  • What happened?
  • How did you feel?
  • How did your life change?
  • What decisions did you make?
  • What actions did you take?
  • How did this experience help you grow? How are you better because of it?
  • How did it prepare you for changes you must face today?

Recalling past unexpected changes to the rules and how you coped with them will give you the confidence to make changes today. You survived change once. You can do it again… and thrive.

it’s not always going to be easy…

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11 comments

  1. I think it is best to realise soon that there is no such thing as retirement 🙂 and do something with that knowledge
    Lots of things have changed, good that instead of being dissapointed or angry (as many people) you decide to act. All the best!

    1. Yes, I agree. That’s why I’m trying to develop an income that I’m in control of, and maybe you are trying to as well… I want to be in charge of my life.

      Thanks for the input.

  2. Thank you! Great post!

    1. Thanks for reading!

  3. That’s just how it is Doug,

    Change is not easy, is costly emotionally, hurts others and takes courage. Liked you story.

  4. thank you. great post. its not that change will ever stop…but how we learn to adapt and become richer as souls in these changes, because of them…even the “ugly” stuff finds its place in my heart and consciousness.

    1. Thanks for reading- You’re correct. Change is a part of life. It seems the fundamentals have been changed though, and it’s going to take a lot of adaptability for everyone to stay right side up.

  5. Thanks for the story. It looks like you are good at taking things in your stride when changes happen. When I did your exercise I gained some insight into my own attitude towards change: I love it. I actively seek it out. I get bored with security. But i never stopped to think that maybe this attitude will change one day! Now that is scary.

    1. Even change changes! As I get older I’m getting better at accepting change and going with the flow. I’ve found that living in the present, as Eckhart Tolle suggests, makes change much easier to accept.

  6. I’m extremely impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout on your blog.
    Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself?
    Anyway keep up the excellent quality writing, it is rare to see a nice blog like this one
    these days.

    1. Hello- This is a free theme. I’ve done a lot of customizing though. Thanks for stopping by and for the compliments.

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