Going through the windshield.

I'm a big fan of change. Well, the changes I create anyway. My decision criteria is usually new is good, newer is better. To create room, I'm frequently thinking about what I can get rid of to make room.

I can tell when I'm ready to change, since it usually starts with cleaning out my closets. This recycling process can extend into whatever isn't nailed down but rarely makes it to the kitchen, where most of the gadgets have been with me forever.

I figure over the years I've let go of at least nine or ten wardrobes and two or three households full of stuff.

Without monitoring the bins at Goodwill, turns out that some psychologists figured out how to measure theses ebbs and flows by identifying states of change. Having built themselves a model, they're more able to support their clients along the change continuum. Particularly important in the addiction rehab business.

Where are you in the process of change?  

As they say in Scotland, useful.

But what about the changes that just sweep into your life, unbidden and unwelcome? Or the ones you've planned for all your life that don't fit your expectations?

Let's say as a young girl you were the perfect mommy to all your dolls. Growing up you expected to have six kids and all the cargo to go with them. Then you turned up with a set of uncooperative ovaries, or married to an adorable but sperm impoverished donor?

Depending on your motivation to change your picture of motherhood, you could begin a global village at home through adoption. Or dive into the mind, body and soul challenging pile of acronyms to a medically assisted but potentially successful route to mommy land.

Say you saw yourself as a successful fill-in-the-blank and found that the destination was a mirage? With stressors and sacrifices that you weren't able to tolerate, much less consistently manage? And the job that payed the bills ended up costing you more to keep than to quit?

Everybody goes through it, and the names might be different, but hitting the wall is the one that makes the most sense to me. One minute you're flying along with your expectations intact, all the "I am this or that" labels solidly attached, and the next minute you're face down, sliding along the asphalt of life, having been ejected from the speeding car of your dreams through the abruptly shattered windshield of reality.

Not the change that you expected.

Your beautiful child is born with challenges you never imagined. Your perfect marriage ends less than perfectly. Your industry listing on the ground like a three day old balloon, your division laid off and the path to retirement taking a spin through some pretty dark neighborhoods.

Instead of a change model, consider using a grief model to get your bearings again. This gal, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, came up with a tidy one.

Gone through the windshield of reality?

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