top of page

Adjusting to Change Throughout the Chapters of Our Lives

Updated: Feb 4, 2019

The gradual transitions in nature are beautiful. Summer turns into Fall. Daylight fades into night. Flowers bloom and gardens grow. I love sunsets and star-gazing. The color of the Fall leaves. And it's all a subtle process. I do freelance portrait photography but I also enjoy taking pictures of nature. It is so fascinating to me that we are capable of capturing a moment, as if to freeze time. We can hold onto a memory, share it with our posterity, and cherish it forever. How cool is that? In fact, I have always thought that having the super power of controlling and manipulating time would be pretty awesome. Being a photographer is kind of similar, right? Taking pictures is like watching a documentary on life, and pressing "pause." And although you press "play" right away, you get to save that moment. Perhaps, in our busy, fast-paced world, we could pause a little more often and enjoy a moment. 

Mary's Bridge in Bavaria, Germany
Mary's Bridge, near Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany | © 2017 by Clarissa Rochelle Photography & Design

Time is precious and as Greek philosopher Heraclitus put it, "the only constant thing in life is change." This seems especially true in this day and age. And as a mother of two young children, I try to remind myself--especially when I'm more distracted or impatient--to enjoy every phase of life; every moment I have with my kids. They grow up too fast. So spend quality time with your children and all your loved ones.

My family always ensures we give each other a hug and kiss, and say "I love you," not just throughout each day, but anytime we leave the house, go to bed, etc. You never know how much time a person has in this life. The transition from life to death is a change itself. And dealing with the death of a loved one is definitely tough. The absence of a parent, spouse, or child is an immense change to adjust to. This includes changes within the family such as divorce and the blending of new family members as well. What brings me peace is that I believe that death is not the end, and that I will see my loved ones who pass from this life again.

Life is unpredictable; we're going to have highs and lows. There is opposition in all things and that is apart of God's plan. I recently learned from a self-care podcast that I highly recommend (The Life Coach School) by master life coach Brooke Castillo, to accept pain and embrace the struggle. It is through these moments that we often learn the most. When we acknowledge and label our emotions, rather than resist, we are better able to process them. Viewing our circumstances as neutral enables us to stay out of self-pity and the "victim mentality." It empowers us to choose how we want to think and feel. To have a positive perspective in our reaction to our trials. It all starts with our thoughts--which form feelings, then turn into actions, which give results. There are some great meditation apps out there for recording mantras and self affirmations--to help change your thinking patterns. (Try Mantra, Calm, ThinkUp, and HeadSpace). With consistency (such as every morning as you get ready to start your day) this positive self-talk can give you a great self-esteem boost and help fight depression. It has definitely helped me.

Tomorrow night is closing night of the play I've currently been involved in, "Sweeney Todd." So it got me thinking about the bitter-sweet feeling of beginnings and endings. I like to look at life as a book, and there are several chapters in it.

Chapter 1- childhood; chapter 2- high school; chapter 3- college; chapter 4- marriage; chapter 5- parenthood (and there are many chapters within parenthood itself--having young children, teenagers, and becoming empty nesters). I have also moved many times in my life, and each place I live feels like a chapter in my book.

There's an exciting plot. A love story. Throw in conflict and adversity, and you can create a beautiful story. It's what we make of it. Your happily ever after is now.

Change can be uncomfortable, but it can also be freeing. A fresh new start. That's how I feel each time I move. Mixed emotions. It usually takes me several months to adjust, but it has become easier over time. When I got married in "Chapter 4," it took me over 8 months to emotionally adjust to my new life. Even though I was happy about this new, exciting chapter, I still felt depressed. I know that doesn't seem to make sense. But I went from being at home with six siblings and the social life of college--to by myself at home while my husband was at work. I eventually got a job and became more busy though. I was also used to full-time school practically my whole life. I was always doing homework. I thrived on structure and routine. And then once I got married, it was like I was starting a whole new life--as I tried to mesh with my husband and our contrasting personalities, preferences, and expectations. That first year of marriage I learned a lot about sacrifice and compromise--and becoming one.

I don't like last minute changes and surprises. Unexpected challenges. There's too much anxiety. And I have Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder--which has actually improved a lot. Part of this is liking things a certain way and everything has to be just right. Having control. Predictable, familiar, perfection. Fear of the unknown. Black-and-white thinking.

And although change can be difficult for me at times, my ADHD brain is always seeking stimulation and variety. This in part explains why I have so many interests, have held a variety of jobs in my life, and changed my major a few times in college. I will get excited about a hobby and go all in with a project...and then eventually lose interest, and obsess with another hobby or project. With the variety of jobs I've held, I have learned some valuable skills in the workplace. My first job was during the summer after I had graduated from high school working for the Forest Service as a timber cruiser. With 10-hour days, I had to hike steep terrain in fire-destroyed areas, and mark trees to be cut and logged.

I came home exhausted; covered in paint and soot. I was the only girl on the crew and did my best to keep up. It was definitely not “my thing.” But it paid well and I was saving up for college. My brother was also on the crew and overheard a couple of the guys make a bet on how long I would last. This made me push myself harder because I wanted to prove to everyone that I was capable of the task. I did not particularly enjoy the job (although being in nature was nice). But it was good for me. I stretched myself and did something different.

Sometimes our natural tendency is to stay in our comfort zone. But change is inevitable and we have to face some discomfort to learn and grow. "Fixed versus growth mindset" are terms coined by Carol Dweck, that refer to what we believe about our personal talent and ability. I feel that I can identify with both mindsets, depending on my attitude and the situation. Although I primarily have a fixed mindset, I also recognize my trials as learning experiences and opportunities for growth. I know that I am not perfect, but I do tend to be a perfectionist in some aspects of my life. Often times I measure my self-worth by my achievements and recognition for them. I tend to participate in things I know that I am already good at, or at least feel comfortable doing. At times I will complete tasks out of my comfort zone, because I realize that is how we learn; however, I am also stubborn and impatient with those things that I may not have much knowledge about or talent in—things that do not come as natural to me or that require more work and practice. Often times I feel self-conscious and care what people think. I have moments of feeling inadequate and discouraged. I strive to do my best in all that I do, and I do not want to mess up or disappoint. I have high expectations for myself and fear failing. At the same time, I realize that life is an accumulation of learning experiences, which can be the greatest teacher. There is so much to learn! Everyone can change through application and experience. The qualities we possess can be cultivated; it is a developing process. We can have a change of attitude, overcome our fears, and try new things.

© 2018 by Clarissa Rochelle Photography & Design

We should always work on the process of becoming our best selves. Progression. Take a self-inventory about every aspect of your life. What needs improvement? Do I need to get my priorities in order? (I like this song "You Can Change," by Julie Yardley. Give it a listen!)

I believe that it doesn't matter so much where we've been and what we've done...but where we're going, or the direction we're headed. God knows our intentions and the desires of our hearts. Just do your best. Do all that you can. Know that you can change and turn your life around.

You can change yourself...but you can't change your spouse. You can't expect or demand change or perfection from him or her. Both of you need to have a desire to change. I learned this in a Marriage & Family course in college. Be the person you want to be married to--meaning, acquire good traits for yourself that you seek in a relationship. If you are currently single, it's not a matter of finding the right person...but being the right person. Work on yourself first, and your relationship will naturally become better as a whole.

So set yourself some specific, realistic, and achievable goals. Take action and be consistent. Be patient with yourself. Change can take time. And it's meant to be a little uncomfortable at first. But it will all be worth it. We just have to learn to enjoy the journey.

SUBSCRIBE to receive a weekly newsletter with news about Clarissa's music, promotions from Clarissa Rochelle Photography & Design, & blog post notifications from "Harmony High Road."


bottom of page