There are lots of changes afoot at Chez Rich Life. Changes that include an unexpected shift in family dynamics, more hours away from home for my husband, and a possible new job for me which may mean less time for volunteering, blogging and other leisurely activities. These are all positive changes, but big changes nonetheless.

Change and I have a hard time getting along now that I am older. I used to be so adaptable in my youth having moved around often as a child, experiencing my parents’ divorce in my teens and living on my own since I was 17.

What happened?

Now, instead of accepting change as a part of life, I try to keep things the way they are/were. Change? Well, she mocks me and creates even more changes. I’m starting to realize the more I resist her and try to push her away, the more unhappy, jittery, and unpleasant-to-live-with I become.

Struggling to accept the recent and upcoming adjustments, I searched online for help and came across this diagram that succinctly describes the various stages of coping with change.

The Change Cycle

See the “Danger Zone” at the bottom? That is where I have been for the last two days. Anxious, confused, unproductive and might I add, rather unfriendly. This wheel helped me see that what I’ve been experiencing is totally normal and expected. What a relief!

This morning, I am off to the gym to work off some of my tension while I wait for the anticipation, resourcefulness and energy in Stage 4 to show up (please, show up soon!). It’s the only quick way I know to ease the stresses of change.

How do you cope with change?
Helpful tips are encouraged.
My family thanks you in advance 🙂



  1. February 22, 2012 / 10:31 am

    One of my favorite sayings is, “If nothing ever changed, there would be no butterflies.” I am as resistant to change as you, but lately I’m trying to take a deep breath and remember the butterflies that are coming.

  2. February 22, 2012 / 10:50 am

    How you deal with change seems to be linked to what your expectations are. I guess I just roll with it and deal after the change happens. If I have been expecting something different, that’s my mistake.

  3. February 22, 2012 / 10:57 am

    I never understand people who can just go with the flow and are never upset by change. I mean big changes that affect our lives. I think you have every reason to feel the way you do!

  4. February 22, 2012 / 11:07 am

    Going to the gym is a great start on coping with changes. I also find it helpful to think about all of the positive things that will not be changing right now. What are you telling yourself about these changes (you’re self-talk) and can you change the messages you are sending yourself? Even telling yourself that you have handled many changes in the past quite well instead of that you try to keep things the way they are (an impossibility!) can help. I’m sure you will find positives in whatever happens.

  5. February 22, 2012 / 11:33 am

    Oh my, did you ask the wrong question…I am horrible in dealing with change. Always have been! When you told me recently that you might be going back to work soon, I was wondering how you were going to juggle everything.

    The last year and a half have been extremely difficult dealing with my in-laws. As if their medical issues aren’t enough there is the family business to contend with. Unfortunately I have to “roll with it” or it will drive me to the funny farm.

    Have you ever read the book “Who Moved my Cheese”? It is supposed to help individuals who have a hard time dealing with change. Funny thing, it’s sitting in my bookcase and I have yet to read it. :/


  6. February 22, 2012 / 12:09 pm

    @Judy C I wish I could go back to being a roll-off-my-back kind of person, but I’m not her anymore.

    I don’t really understand the expectation aspect of change that you speak of. I don’t feel let down or that expectations aren’t met – I am simply trying to adjust to a new life changes and with that comes anxiety.

  7. February 22, 2012 / 12:11 pm

    @Suburban Princess I wish I could accept change easily, but I don’t. The type of change I choose is one thing – like the new job – but change I do not choose that happens on its own, well, that is the really hard kind for me to get used to. Thank you for understanding!

  8. February 22, 2012 / 12:14 pm

    @Juhli Good advice… I need to change the tape in my head to have a more positive tone. I know that soon things will settle in and the change will no longer feel so foreign. Much of my anxiety comes from the unknown – not knowing how I am going to handle it all, what it will look like in my daily life, will I have regrets, etc.

    Maybe it’s time to do some journaling. Thank you, Juhli.

  9. February 22, 2012 / 12:17 pm

    @LRS4AMANDA There are only so many hours in the day/week/month. I am going to try to do it all and see how it goes.

    I know you have been dealing with some long-term issues around your husband’s family – and that it is constantly changing. You have done a great job of being flexible and setting boundaries, too.

    I will look for that book at the library. I have heard of it before but don’t know anything about it.

    Thank you for the book recommendation. xo. A

  10. February 22, 2012 / 12:26 pm

    I think it does get harder with age. I read a fab book called ‘Embracing Uncertainty’ by Susan Jeffers, and it has helped me whenever I have a period of change about to start.I strongly recommend it x

  11. February 22, 2012 / 12:40 pm

    @[email protected] For me, getting older finds me less open to change because I like the way things are. Maybe I am stuck in my ways a bit?

    Just ordered that book at the library. Thank you for the recommendation!

  12. February 22, 2012 / 1:45 pm

    Well, just a big cyber-hug from someone who doesn’t really like change all that much either. I feel like I’ve made my life choices very deliberately, and I don’t like anyone moving my cheese!

    Except it does happen. I like the quote from dear old Viktor Frankl who survived a concentration camp:
    “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” So I’ve tried to remember that when I get a curve ball; to recall that I can’t always choose what I get to deal with, but I get to choose my reaction 100%.

    Wishing you all the best as you navigate some rough waters….

  13. February 22, 2012 / 2:37 pm

    I love the Viktor Frankl quote – that is so very true. I have always been able to adjust to change pretty well whether intentional or not, but it definitely does take some time to get used to. Give yourself some time to let things sink in and you will see that everything happens for a reason, sometimes we just aren’t able to see it yet. Good luck with whatever is coming your way. Thinking good thoughts for you and your family! xxoo

  14. February 22, 2012 / 2:52 pm

    Adrienne – All my best to you as you navigate the upcoming changes! I tend to fall apart at the seams when change happens, though it’s especially applicable to changes in my PERSPECTIVE. When I feel like something is going more or less as I expect it to then WHAMO! I realize it’s not at all as I thought, well, then, “Houston, we have a problem.”

    As others have said, finding my bearings involves changing my own perspective. I can apparently help other people do this much better than I can willfully change my own perspective.

    Part of my learnings over the past several months have included gaining a deep understanding that the changes I SEEK to make will only happen with intention – MY intention. I have to set the groundwork for what I want, without getting too restrictive, then (here’s the hard part for me) FOLLOW THROUGH.

    Perhaps that can be applied to your situation – see yourself making the changes and what your ideal would be then work TOWARD that end. (Trying to hit every mark perfectly is a frustrating waste of time.)

    Wow… I think I need to take my own advice… Haha.

    I have been meaning to get something off in the mail to you (once I make it) but I’ve still been dragging my feet on this “setting intentions” thing. I do hope your mailing address is the same as when you sent me the lovely red dress, but if it isn’t and you have one you’re willing to share, please email it whenever you have a moment.

    Bright blessings and much love – you’re an inspiration to me daily!

  15. February 22, 2012 / 2:53 pm

    Change is always hard, but I certainly wish you the best with a new job. Exciting for you, maybe? Hours away for hubby is always hard though. Best wishes.

  16. February 22, 2012 / 3:52 pm

    Change happens.
    It is the only constant that I know of…

    I try to put things in perspective and embrace change. Some things are much easier to accept than others.
    So my advice would be to take it slow and don’t put too much pressure on yourself.

    A new job sounds exciting were you looking for a job or did it find you?

  17. February 22, 2012 / 3:58 pm

    Change is always hard for me too, unless I’m really ready for it. Changes in family dynamics can be especially challenging, but are often the most rewarding.

    The job prospect sounds exciting!

  18. February 22, 2012 / 4:06 pm

    @Amy Thank you for the cyber hug, Amy! You pretty much summed up the way I feel – I’ve made life choices purposefully and I don’t like having them suddenly change dramatically! It’s the family dynamics issue that I am having the most trouble with – wish I could be less mysterious about it, but who knows who may read this.

    I love that quote. And I do try to live by that idea – something I worked on with my life coach. I do need to change my reaction to my new home situation and try to see my circumstances through a better frame of mind. It always boils down to taking a positive view on things, doesn’t it? Thank you, Amy, for your kind and very wise words.

  19. February 22, 2012 / 4:06 pm

    Change is tough, I used to be a worrier, but then I realized that most of the time things worked out and I spent so much time stressing. My husband is very laid back and is a great balance for me. When I am stressed I watch t.v (funny I know) but it allows me just to relax sometimes have a good laugh or cry. I’ll be thinking of you and your family I have no doubt things will work out.

  20. February 22, 2012 / 4:39 pm


    I know how you feel. I think as I get older, change is even harder! Good luck with everything and I look forward to hearing about your new job.

    Take care!


  21. February 22, 2012 / 5:24 pm

    As Garth famously announced in “Wayne’s World”: “We fear change!” It’s normal; we crave the familiar and of course, the safe. You have many assets to draw on: a good husband, a sound mind, and . . . us! I am sending peaceful thoughts your way, and hope you are already moving to Stage 4 : >

  22. February 22, 2012 / 5:51 pm

    I like good change, and don’t like bad change. Sounds simplistic, but it’s pretty true. After 10 years of living in 2 homes on opposite coasts, we’re finally consolidating into 1. I’m very happy about that. It’s a huge change, and saying goodbye to a lot of people, and a certain lifestyle, but I’m ready.
    Change, that’s thrust upon me, I don’t do as well with. However, I have been told by people that I do better with change than most people do, so that’s something I guess.
    I think family dynamic changes are very, very hard to deal with though. All of a sudden, something that upsets the rhythm is thrown into your life, and that for me is VERY hard to deal with.
    Breathe. xoxo

  23. February 22, 2012 / 7:37 pm

    Change is what helps open new doors in our lives. It definitely ups the anxiety, but keep good energy around you! This will be something you will handle with your usual grace!

  24. February 22, 2012 / 7:43 pm

    Dearest Adrienne,

    Wishing you strength for going through all this change. People are reluctant to change in general but often it is just a mind set. We had to change so often in our working years. Love to be together now though; after all… Would not be able to pull it off a second time around. No thanks. Having been in the air, on the road and in hotels enough and being separated because of travels. Blogging might have to be put to the back burner a bit as you first have to take care of yourself!
    Love to you and all the best.


  25. February 22, 2012 / 7:54 pm

    Change can also be seen as a cathartic experience, a fresh start at least for some areas in your life. It also gives us a chance to reevaluate priorities and realize the significance of things/people that we had taken for granted. Hope you get over this phase soon!!

  26. February 22, 2012 / 10:33 pm

    @Cathi Thank you for your wise words, Cathi. I try to always look for the lesson in everything. I think mine is to be more flexible. I become very protective of my alone time and when that is challenged or threatened, I get cranky. I am certain things will settle down soon and we will once again be in a pleasant pattern. We all have bumps in the road along the path of life and these aren’t very big. They just require patience and time. xo, A

  27. February 22, 2012 / 10:37 pm

    @Michelle Roebuck Wow! What valuable advice, Michelle. And so lovely to hear from you as always.

    The changes that I have intended to make are easier and more welcomed than the changes that have been thrust upon me. I know I need to change my perspective on this sudden change and find some patience within.

    I am confident all will work out in some kind of harmony eventually. It’s the initial chaos that makes me crazy with anxiety.

    Thank you again for your advice.

    And yes, my address is the same…can’t wait to see what you’ve got for me! xoxo, Adrienne

  28. February 22, 2012 / 10:40 pm

    @Leigh Powell Hines (Hines-Sight Blog) It is exciting…I will reveal more once I know what’s going on. Bill will no longer have his 3 day weekends. So I have decided to work part-time to get out and meet people and feel productive outside of the home. I still want to hang on to volunteering but that may have to take a different shape down the road.
    Thank you for the kind words, Leigh.

  29. February 22, 2012 / 10:42 pm

    @hostess of the humble bungalow I am very bad about putting pressure on myself and easily feel guilty when I can’t meet my own goals and expectations.

    The job sort of found me but I found it, too. I may be returning to an old place of employment and will find out more on Friday.

    Thank you for the advice! xo, A

  30. February 22, 2012 / 10:45 pm

    @Susan Tiner Sometimes I am also ready for change…it’s the changes I didn’t expect that I am not thrilled with…and yes, this particular change I am not thrilled with is about family dynamics. I don’t see it being very rewarding, but who knows? I might learn something about myself and become a more patient person – at least that is what I hope. Fingers crossed!

  31. February 23, 2012 / 1:23 am

    You use to write non-cryptic about your life. This posting got me confused. I remember your husband getting promoted, so the hours away might be the side-effect of this career-step.

    I hope you wish to work for the new job and you are not forced to do something you don’t want. So you can look forward to the new job. I mean, earning money is not exactly a bad thing.

    What could be unexpected? Could it be you are becoming a step-grandmother?

    You see, I have no clue how to adapt to change but bury my head in the sand instead by asking silly questions.

    And a big “Yes” for the decision going to the gym!

    I have my own ways to cope with stress caused by change (which I don’t like per se):

  32. Madge
    February 23, 2012 / 5:03 am

    oh wow, i am really not good with change and i’m 28. i keep thinking at some point i will be one of those people who embraces change as a Challenge and Adventure, but it hasn’t happened yet 🙂

    my way of “coping” is, after i’ve spent forever twisting myself in knots to see if i can keep things the same, to sit with the awkward feelings, acknowledge them and then make a list of everything that is bothering me and everything i have to DO about this thing and see if i can break down the problems or the task into more manageable chunks. it seems to take the sting out a bit.

    good luck with it all!

  33. February 23, 2012 / 7:04 am

    @Carrie Teal Lucky you for being a reformed worrier. I am better than I used to be – used to have panic attacks and all that when I was in my 20’s – but I still worry more than I should.
    Having a husband who isn’t a worrier helps. Mine is that way, too.

    Thanks for the advice! xo

  34. February 23, 2012 / 7:17 am

    @Patti @ NotDeadYet Style Love your comment – it’s true. I have so many wonderful people who support me. It’s helped to blog about it – writing things out usually does. Then to have a forum for advice? Well that just beats all 🙂

    I am cresting Stage 4 – almost there! xo

  35. February 23, 2012 / 7:23 am

    @kathy peck I am glad to hear you are happy about this new transition with your living situation.
    I am like you – good change, although somewhat stressful can be exciting. Change that is thrust upon you that isn’t so great is a real struggle for me.
    My home is my haven and when its balance is upset, I become upset. I think the best thing to do is be patient – something I stink at – and communicate with my family members.
    Thank you for your insight…xoxo, A

  36. February 23, 2012 / 7:26 am

    @Marmie Thanks, Marmie. I have not been very graceful about my emotions this week. But I think I am finally getting over the worst of it…you guys always help me see things with a better perspective 🙂

  37. February 23, 2012 / 7:29 am

    @Mariettes Back to Basics Hi Mariette,

    Thank you for your wise words. I think things will be fine after a time. I am a bit sad Bill will be gone from me even more but I will hopefully have a new job to keep me occupied.
    I hope to not have to put blogging on the back burner, but there is always that possibility! It makes me happy; I would be so sad to give it up.

    Hope you and yours are well.


  38. February 23, 2012 / 7:33 am

    @beingFab You’re right. Some changes can be a fresh start – a couple of mine are for sure. But one is not – and it’s the one I am having the most problems with. But things will work themselves out. I am slowly moving into the next, more tolerable stage. Thank you for your insight!

  39. February 23, 2012 / 7:41 am

    @Paula I am sorry for being cryptic. I had to for right now for complicated reasons.

    I am not becoming a grandma, as far as I know (oy!). But I do have more laundry to do and more groceries to buy now than I did two weeks ago. Hope that helps explain a bit.

    I am not forced to go back to work. It’s a fun sort of thing and a way to make some money for Europe trip. Things are very spendy in Switzerland. Yikes!

    Exercise helps as does talking to friends and Bill. And blogging about things that are troubling me almost always makes me feel better.

    I will check out your link. Thank you for your advice!

  40. February 23, 2012 / 7:46 am

    @Madge You sound just like me! So funny you mention the list making. I actually sat down and filled in another Wheel of Life last week when things were starting to change. Then another set of changes presented themselves. I think I need to do another one, then make a list for the wedges that need some help. I hope you know what I am referring too – it’s the Wheel of Life post I wrote back in January, a life coaching tool.

    I do like to write things down. It helps me see things more clearly and not seem as chaotic.

    Thanks for giving me the motivation to get to work on my newest wheel 🙂

  41. February 23, 2012 / 9:15 am

    I don’t know if I’m a fan of change or not: change has been forced upon me ever since I was a little girl. My dad being transferred repeatedly meant new schools, new friends, new houses, new climates. That trend continued with me going to college, moving on my own for my first job and then again and AGAIN. Changing jobs and industries, etc. We had a big change when my husband and I retired from full-time work four years ago.

    I’m rather stoic when it comes to change because I know no other way. I’m also an optimist by nature, so I just have this belief that everything will be okay because I will make it okay.

    None of that probably helps you! Wine helps.

  42. February 24, 2012 / 3:08 am

    The older I have gotten, the more I have learned to accept change and learn to embrace it, even if it is difficult, it puts us on the path of where we need to be, where we are going to end up 🙂
    Best of luck with all of the changes coming your way 🙂

  43. February 24, 2012 / 4:13 am

    Ahhh Change can be so very difficult! I hate changes imposed on me that I have no contribution to in the decision making process. I really buck up if I am not consulted!! I know that when you are able to contribute to the decision and processes you are far more accepting of the change.

    The burden of the change in your home should not all be your’s to bear! I am sure that unless there’s an invalid involved -the laundry, groceries, AND cooking could be shared. Or alternately some home help and home deliveries could be enlisted.

    Sometimes it works out that every thing just happens at once. I have a saying, ‘just ride the wave’ eventually it will calm down and have a natural rhythm that you can cope with- until the next big wave!

  44. February 24, 2012 / 4:19 am

    PS, get yourself another washer (I have 2 washer dryer all in ones) it will cut the time you spend toing and froing doing laundry in half!

  45. February 28, 2012 / 1:17 pm

    Change is never easy, and the older we get the harder it is. What has always helped me is to surround myself with things and people that provide me comfort and to occupy my mind with positive thoughts and actions….small things always help.

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