A recent Psychology Today article addressed “lifequakes,” when humans experience major disruptions to daily living. This is also referred to as nonlinear life. These days, transitions are becoming more plentiful. We typically experience one disruptor every one to two years. One in ten will be so big that we will undergo a major challenge to how we perceive, adapt, and understand the pillars of life transitions.
A disruptive event, positive or negative, interrupts the flow of everyday life. Data show most Americans will have multiple jobs in their lifetimes and numerous moves; half of us will change faiths, sexual fluidity is rising, and we face an epidemic of depression, anxiety, and suicide. Transitions take longer than you think—yet no longer than you need. However, transitions are essential to a full life.
A good example of this is Christy, who grew up hating school. In kindergarten she pretended to vomit at the bus stop so she could stay home, and in high school she played hooky and hung out at the beach. The summer of her junior year, Christy became pregnant. Six weeks later, she and her boyfriend, Roy, were married. He dropped out of school and began working at KFC. Christy got a paper route.
In the next eight years, they had three children. Eventually they were able to buy a Japanese restaurant. However, when Roy needed multiple surgeries, they tumbled into debt. Then, something very surprising happened: Christy took her daughter to the library for toddler time, placed her in a comfortable chair, and grabbed the nearest book. In swift order, Christy made her way through the shelf of classics. Christy found the answer she was yearning for: she would go back to school. On the day her youngest child entered preschool, Christy went to the closest university and enrolled in classes. She eventually obtained a bachelor’s degree and then a master’s degree, and after several years, a PhD in adult education.
After I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mental health nursing, I worked in a Veteran’s hospital for a year, then married and raised five children. When they were grown, I returned to a nearby university and obtained a PhD in psychology. Fortunately, even though my life has been nonlinear, I am grateful for the ongoing disruptions that occurred. Dear readers, especially during this time when there is so much uncertainty and upheaval, it would be much appreciated and most likely helpful to others if you would share regarding the nonlinear events of your life.