So how do we deal with the losses and still maintain our zest for life? It is not an easy question and the answers depend on lots of factors including our individual personalities and how we relate to others as well as conditions including health, economic status and family structure.
Truth is, life at all stages is a series of gains and losses. As a child grows up, he gains new abilities and freedoms but often loses the sense of comfort that comes from staying close to the nuclear family. It is scary to strike out on your own whether that means a new school, a new job or a new place to live.
With every loss comes a grieving process. Though it may seem incongruous to compare losing a job with losing a close relative, there are similarities. We miss the way things were, the comfort of the familiar, the pleasures of relationships that have been constant over time. When there is a change in those or other circumstances, it can be jarring to the psyche and even cause physical ailments.
The website Helpguide.org points out that the stress that comes with life changes can be mitigated by resources such as a strong support network of family and friends, maintaining a sense of control and having the self-confidence to know you can make it through the changes, having the ability to bring your emotions into balance and maintaining an optimistic attitude. The website’s article, “Understanding Stress,” also points out that the more preparation and information a person has about a coming change the easier the transition will be.
All that said, it is hard to navigate through the challenges that life presents. But staying engaged and sharing feelings with others who have experienced similar situations can help. As my mother used to say, “Things have a way of working out.” I believe that. I also believe that it helps to allow for grieving while still keeping in mind that a better day is ahead and that life is to be lived with all its complexities.
About Kathy Silverberg
Secretary of Senior Friendship Centers' Board of Governors, Kathy is currently a newspaper columnist/ freelance writer, and previously was Southern Region Publisher for the Sarasota Herald Tribune and Editor/General Manager of four New York Times regional newspapers. She serves as liaison between United Way of Charlotte County and the Senior Friendship Centers. She is past chair of the Board of the Punta Gorda Chamber of Commerce, is a board member and past president for United Way of Charlotte County; and, is chair of Charlotte County’s Senior Leadership Council.
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