10 Invaluable Lessons from My Mom About Adapting to Change

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I’ve learned so many lessons from my mom, but none have been more invaluable to me than what I’ve acquired from her about adapting to change.

My mom is our hero. “Edith” is mother to five children, 11 grandchildren, six great children and counting, a friend to all, and the woman I aspire to be.

Family Football Game

She’s has had to adapt to change on a much grander scale than I have throughout her entire life, but especially since my dad died. I’ve learned countless lessons from my mom about change led by her unbelievable grace and gratitude. She’s given me the guidance I have needed to handle the empty nesting changes with better perspective and gratitude.

Lesson #1: It’s Never Too Late to Try Something New.

My parents were married just shy of 54 years, and nearly 40 of those years were spent in the same house. This was my childhood home where our family created a lifetime of memories. A place of comfort, consistency, and safety. A place that seemed logical for my mom to spend the rest of her life. But when my dad passed, she not only decided to sell and downsize their home, she decided to buy a new home in a new city. Here she would meet new friends, develop new habits, and create a new life for herself…at age 76.

She handled it with such amazing gratitude and a bit of grit. She would be the first to say it was not easy, but six years later, she is absolutely thriving. This is all because she didn’t subscribe to the belief that we must always stay the same or that at her age, it was too late to start again. She keeps proving it is never too late to start a new life adventure.

Whenever I feel like I’m too old or it’s too late to try something new, I think about what she has done. I can hear her laugh at how silly that is to her.

Mom Lesson on Moving

Lesson #2: Life Keeps Moving and So Must You.

I would imagine it can be a very scary and lonely time when you lose your spouse. A time where grief can paralyze your thoughts of moving forward. Instead of letting her grief take over her thoughts, she continues to use it for good. She created projects that were love reflections of my dad, which helped her honor him through her grief. She quickly got busy making gifts by sewing pillows and wine carriers made from his old shirts. And soon thereafter joined group grieving sessions with other women going through similar challenges. Here she found her place to help these women navigate through their grief, and also gained invaluable friendships along the way.

Don’t get stuck in your sadness. Grow through it and make something good of it. Thanks Mom for inspiring me to start this blog!

Lesson #3: Complaining Won’t Get You Where You Need to Be.

I think I heard my mom complain once. But maybe it was just her complaining about everyone complaining and not doing something about it! Don’t look back and don’t waste precious time complaining when you can spend more productive time moving on and moving forward.

Lesson #4: Be the Victor, Not the Victim.

I often wonder what makes the difference in how people handle adversity in their lives. How one can grow from experiences, while the other lets the experience hold them back? Growing from change and adversity has been the most invaluable lesson from my mom. She will always look at life through the lens of a victor. She’s encountered plenty in her life to play the victim, but you’ll never see her accept that role.

My mom is filled with empathy and compassion. She will listen to me for hours, but when it’s time to move forward, I know not to expect a pity party. Having a victim mentality will never generate progress.

Lesson #5: Pray First. Pray Often.

Having a great faith has been an instrumental lesson from my mom. She radiates joy in all things and it is a direct reflection of her faith and prayer life. Sometimes I’ll ask her to pray for me, and she immediately reminds me that she already has been. When my thoughts are clouded and small, her example helps me to focus on the bigger picture.

Lesson #6: Delight Yourself in Others.

Often times, when faced by a challenge in life, we tend to spend an enormous amount of time problem solving for ourselves. Is it just me?

How do I overcome this problem? How do I solve this? Or I plead with God to “Just help ME!”

This is not how my mother handles problems. By nature, she lives to serve the people around her. She looks for opportunities to help others, before she ever thinks of herself. She doesn’t allow her own personal circumstances to get in the way of taking care of the needs of others. Need a meal, a talk, a call, a friend? She’ll most likely be the first to take care of others.

This lesson from my mom has really helped me connect with other moms over the past year. Helping other new college moms navigate through change has been instrumental for me . Just help THEM!

Lesson #7: Make Life Fun!

Grandma Riding in Razor

Ironically, my mom is part of the Silent Generation, but I think she is the president of the socialite club…if they have one! One of my favorite things to do is to call her and find out about the trips she has planned with her GiGis ( a new version of the Grieving Gals), where she took her latest adventure, and what she has planned next. She has a pep in her step that most of my Gen Xers and Millennials would covet, and if you need a good laugh, she always has a funny story to share. She doesn’t just follow the fun, the fun follows her.

Lesson #8: Nurture Your Relationships.

The list of my my mom’s friends runs far and wide. Former booster club friends, card playing partners, church members, the grocery checker, the restaurant server, former co-workers, retirees, etc. If you know Edith, you love her because she invests in all of her relationships and makes you feel like you’re the only person that matters.

We never know how much time we are given with someone, so treasure it and make the most of it. It’s one of my favorite lessons from my mom and what I’m learning while cultivating new friendships during this stage of my life.

Lesson #9: Say I Love You.

Mother Daughter Love

We grew up in a family filled with lots of love, but the phrase “I Love You” was said very infrequently. But we changed that when my dad passed. You don’t have to stay the same forever. You can change the way did things and make them better.

Today we never end a call without telling each other we love each other. Thanks Mom for making this small change a big change for us.

Lesson #10: Let Go of Fear.

Grandma Solo

This past winter, I learned one of the greatest lessons from my mom about fear. Face it and do it anyway. She left the comfort of her home again, her new friends, her routine, her fun, and moved across the country for three months to live in a retirement community. She became a snow bird! I rarely talked to her during that time because she was always doing something! Every day she tried something new, she put herself in uncomfortable situations, she stretched herself more than even she thought was possible.

I was just so proud of her and completely inspired by her fearlessness!

Don’t go through life, grow through life.

Eric Butterworth

These lessons from my mom about adapting to change will be a part of me for the rest of my life and I will continue my best to honor them as I go through continual change. What lessons have you learned about change and how are you adapting? Comment below.

Are you a recent empty nester and going through a mid-life change? Be sure to subscribe to this blog to never miss an update and to connect with a community of women focused on growing between the beautiful stages of life.

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