How monumental experiences change us in ways nothing else can

monumental experiences
Photo by Edward Howell on Unsplash

Have you ever known or heard of people whose lives were transformed by monumental experiences? A brush with death, for instance, sends them running after their dreams full-tilt, unwilling to settle for anything less.

I’ve known people who have emerged from near-fatal car accidents and completely changed their lives. One abandoned her career trajectory to start a new business. And, best of all, she charged what she was worth.

You don’t need to escape death to change your life for the better, though. Here are 5 other monumental experiences that render our old lives unrecognizable.

1. Divorce

They say divorce is the hardest thing a person can go through, short of losing someone through death. Some say it feels like a death, the loss is so extreme.

When we go through something as hard as divorce, it gives us new courage. We decide to pursue things we never did because we feared what people would think.

A divorce exposes you to all kinds of public scrutiny. You suddenly realize you can survive the disapproval of others. Heck, you can even thrive in the face of it.

A divorce exposes you to all kinds of public scrutiny. You realize you can survive the disapproval of others. Click To Tweet

You likely experience abandonment from at least a few of your friends. You seek out new friends more aligned with your values.

Surviving this painful process gives you courage to pursue passions that laid dormant during your unhappy marriage.

2. Losing a loved one

So much beauty has come out of the ashes of untimely deaths. For example, the mother of a boy whom a drunk driver killed, started Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

The organization has saved thousands of lives with its roadside sobriety spot checks. These have become part of our holiday routine and bring us together in a shared desire to keep others safe.

Countless other foundations have sprung up in the name of lost loved ones. The mothers of these lost souls abandon careers to take up new roles they never imagined themselves in.

3. Moving

monumental experiences

Moving to a new region or country is one of those monumental experiences that can spur you to change everything. That’s because, suddenly, your life is a clean slate.

Nobody knows you or your history and that brings tremendous freedom. Now, you can be more intentional about friendships and let go of those that only survived due to proximity.

Moving can spur you to change everything. Nobody knows you or your history and that brings tremendous freedom. Click To Tweet

You find freedom in the distance from family members. No more obligatory visits or unwanted intrusions on your life.

Whether they’re toxic or not, a little distance from family can help you re-discover yourself. Who are you without the influence of those who’ve known you forever?

4. Job loss

Losing a job can prompt you to start that business you’ve always dreamed about. It can make you more authentic and care less what people think.

You no longer have to wear a mask to fit into the culture at work. Nor do you have to tolerate the workplace bully.

You might realize for the first time that money doesn’t equal happiness. You want to make up for all that lost time you traded for a regular paycheck. That makes you more intentional about how you spend your time now.

5. Um, a pandemic

We won’t step around the elephant in the room, the worldwide pandemic. Among monumental experiences, this one ranks high.

The pandemic has brought unspeakable losses, both in life and finances. We’ve been forced to look at life differently, and accept things we never thought we’d have to tolerate.

We’ve seen how much humans can stand and how resilient we are. Without our distractions and routines, we’ve been forced to get quiet and look within.

That’s forced some of us to take stock of who we are and what matters to us. Have we been living life authentically? In some cases, that introspection has led to the very monumental experiences discussed above.

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