How to change your life

If you want to know how to change your life, first consider changing how you think. Because the answer to your question is already inside you. But Google it if you must. More than 5 billion results come up in a search on that phrase. You see, changing your life is an industry. Buyer beware. Many, many, books are sold under the rubric of changing your life. My own book, “How I Made a Huge Mess of My Life,” could be among those 5 billion answers to your question. So, continue reading here at your own risk. 

In 2014, when I turned 60, I realized I needed to change my life. I had been farming by myself for six years and my brain was going numb with problem solving, my bank account was at low tide and my joints were begging for replacement. I was a widow trying to have the same life I had when I lived in a two-person, two-income household. Then I crashed and burned in stress, debt and icepacks. Changing my life could have taken me in many directions. I had options. I could have become Mother Teresa and dedicated myself to caring for others. But I chose the more narcissistic path of Dorothy and ran away from home to follow the Yellow Brick Road in search of Oz. In 2016, I sold everything, got in my car and drove away on a mission to find myself. 

Like Dorothy’s dream, my road trip was a kind of limbo, a transitory space between departure from my old life and arrival in my new life, a way of sampling opportunities without making a commitment. As I drove my history scrolled through my psyche and I saw myself with new perspective, like watching a movie or reading a book about someone else. The literal distance gave me a chance to detach from my identity and witness myself. Of course, I could have witnessed myself sitting on the couch, but context was part of my problem. I was dulled by repeating my behavior patterns, exercising the same ideas over and over again, and reinforcing old habits instead of breaking them. On the road the change of scenery stimulated me to rethink myself. It was the change in how I think that changed my life.

Now I see how my life is a story I tell myself and my story is changing all the time. At one point my life was a saga about terminal illness, death, downsizing and the disintegration of my lifestyle. I told myself my life was ruined and that’s how I felt. Ruined. But as my life continues, I see how those same events made me more resilient, stronger and wiser, and prepared me for the life I have today, which I love. Today I tell myself I’ve recovered from tragedy to become a new person. And that’s how I feel. New. One life, many interpretations, many stories. You choose your story. You choose how to change your life by choosing how to think about yourself, the story you tell yourself about who you are, one word at a time, one sentence at a time. Your choice. Have a listen to yourself. What story do you hear? 

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9 thoughts on “How to change your life

  1. I can relate to a lot of this. I was forced from my rural property by my husband of 24 years. I lived with a girlfriend for a year and a half getting over the shock humiliation and finding new strength to carry on. I still had my horses and a beautiful dog that I ended up having to put down when he killed my friend’s alpaca. I didn’t think I’d ever get out of the hole of depression. I kept my hospital job and this really helped me out my life into perspective. I was still alive and relatively healthy apart from depression. I started finding out about myself and how I ticked. I attracted a lot of losers into my life but I finally found my self worth too. 12 years later I own my little slice of paradise and I still have my horse. I met a beautiful man 4 years ago and we are so happy! We don’t live together which makes it more special but we do spend a lot of time together too. Camping fishing dancing gardening you name it. Life is so precious and we don’t want to waste time being sad. Life is what you make it…

    1. Nice to hear from you Marie-Anne. Thanks for sharing your story. You have been through a lot, and yet you have found happiness again. That is the kind of thing that gives me hope. I’m glad for you.

  2. I began a new chapter of my life 5 years ago and I’m currently on the cusp of doing it again. Being a woman who was happily content to live the majority of my life in the same general area, two moves in such close proximity feel like a LOT so your words of encouragement were just what I needed today! I’ve been fortunate to live a beautifully familiar story but your story helps me feel empowered to manifest a new interpretation. The story I’m hearing sounds just like a dream. Thank you for sharing your heart <3

    1. You are empowered to manifest a new interpretation of you, Cynthia. We all are, but we don’t always feel it. I’m glad you are finding contentment. You deserve it. Thanks for chiming in here.

  3. This is a magnificent post. I truly believe in every word of wisdom and advice in your blog. Personally, facing a life-changing, career-ending open-heart surgery (one of 4) at 28 years-old, I must have heard you whispering in my ear while wondering if I would even wake up after surgery. Your words: “New. One life, many interpretations, many stories,” embody my soul’s compass. Thank you for every bit of insight, foresight, savvy, intelligence, understanding, and compassion that you bring to every post.
    Your fan and so lucky to be a friend,
    robby

    1. Robby, you of all the people I know have a life with many interpretations. I’m so glad you enjoy my writing. Thank you for your kind words.

  4. Sometimes it seems my life is a collection of anecdotes, at least the exterior part. Then there’s the ‘lessons trying to learn and mistakes trying not to repeat’ more interior ‘self’. And lastly, there’s the pre-school level of my spiritual ‘evolution’. My brain thinks it has The Answers, but somehow the brain wants to defend the brain. Ego, the ego. The tiniest of baby steps my screwball trajectory. Ya gets me a thinkin’, Bil
    ML
    r

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