People expect those circumstances which are more or less planned or anticipated such as a marriage, birth of a child, or even relocation to be a game-changer but the ones that really rock our world in a way we can't prepare for are the surprise detours, roadblocks, and unexpected turn of events we don't see coming and think will play by our rules.
While I knew my husband was looking for work out of state, I somehow believed I could continue to manage a large therapy practice by commuting from 800 miles away at least for several days each week. I had run my practice for over 20 years and while it was thriving without me being constantly present, I hadn't thought about the true logistics.
Oh, I knew I would be hopping on a plane and spending several days back at my practice and then reverse my plans and return to my new home. But, what I hadn't figured in were the countless "trivia" also was involved.
Somehow, I had managed to overlook the fact that I would need to now rent a car AND look for a place to "live" several days out of each week since I no longer had a house and my car would be 800 miles away. Sure, I had well-meaning friends who offered their "extra" bedrooms but the surest way to ruin a great friendship is to begin to schedule who would be responsible for me "bunking" at their home each week. Then there was that matter of food which had to be figured into expenses and gas for the rental car. For months my husband sweetly tried to discourage me believing this arrangement was possible and I realized when I totalled the cost of airfare and other expenses, he was obviously anxious about the fact that I might be spending more than I would be making with each trip back "home." I realized I had to sell my practice and leave behind both the friends I had known all my life, and the "baby" I had grown from scratch and nutured for over 2 decades. This was a game-changer and initially, I surrendered kicking and screaming, silently hoping my husband would hate the move and want to return to the only home I had ever known.
It did not happen
But, because I was forced to begin again in a new city where I knew less than 3 people and could barely find my way out of my neighborhood let alone navigate the major freeways, I was forced to have no choice but to get a new home, new friends, a GPS, and move on.(well, forced if I wanted to stay married!)
The second unexpected game changer occurred 2 years ago, when I received a call from my husband's cardiologist telling me he was admitting my husband to the hospital because he had passed out while on a treadmill during a routine physical. The following morning, he had his aortic valve replaced. While we always knew the valve was defective, we had just been told 6 months earlier he would need it replaced in about 5 years. Realizing he dodged a bullet was a game-changer. If I had known this years ago when I was thinking I would fly back to my practice for a few days every week, I would never have wanted to give up that time we could spend together.
As it was, it all worked out and I learned to very important things.
1) Sometimes what you think you can do is unrealistic
2) Sometimes you don't get to make the decision, circumstance makes it for you.
Game-changers especially the ones which are not anticipated can actually be the best thing that might happen especially if you are torn between choices or confused about direction. Sometimes having limited choices or many options is actually a blessing and creates a more viable alternative.
A serious illness, job loss, financial crisis, major tragedy, betrayal are all game-changers.
Are you looking at a game-changer and trying to control it from all angles?
Sometime the best way to handle a game-changer is to look it in the eye and give it permission to do it's thing...and get a new life, new house, new career, GPS and MOVE ON.
What was a big unexpected game changer in your life?