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Dare to Dream Again After Being Hit by a Life Quake

By Rita Wilkins April 13, 2023 Mindset

At some point in your life, you will go through “something.” That “something” could be the sudden death of a loved one, a nasty divorce, an unexpected financial crisis or a dreaded life slip. 

Life Quakes

These “life quakes” are life-changing experiences that alter our reality overnight. Our world is suddenly turned upside down. The foundation and security we once knew is pulled out from underneath us, making us ask, “Why me, God?”

Life quakes leave you with more questions than answers.

“Who am I now? How will I ever survive this crisis, let alone thrive?”

You will often be afraid, confused, uncertain, and unprepared for what’s next.

Mourning the passing of your previous life and saying goodbye to the way things were takes time. But as you come face-to-face with your new reality and as it begins to finally settle in, you realize you must do “something”. 

But “What?” And “How?”

Life transitions are never easy, they are certainly not linear, and they do require much time and thoughtful introspection.

  • Do you just “carry-on” and adapt to your new life as a widow or as a divorcee?
  • Do you look for another job similar to a previous one simply because you need the money to survive and because it won’t require you to step out of your comfort zone? Or…
  • Do you see this “life quake” as a new fork in the road; as an opportunity for you to shake up your life, change directions altogether, allowing you to create something new, exciting, and even more fulfilling… something you dreamed of, but never thought possible?

Rediscover Your Purpose and Learn to Dream Big

These life-changing moments are transitions that challenge you on every possible level to rethink, reimagine, and redefine who and what you want to be in the future.

  • Do you continue to look back and hold on to the status quo because it’s the most comfortable choice? Or…
  • Do you choose to look forward, embrace this time of change so you can intentionally redesign your life to be what you dream it to be and so you can thrive rather than merely survive? 

The choice is yours.

But if you do choose to reinvent yourself and your life after getting hit by a “life quake,” you will definitely need to allow yourself to dream big.

Lives Change. Dreams Change.

What are your new dreams?

Step 1: Discern What Matters Most to You Right Now… And WHY?

Start asking yourself what matters most to you now and why.

Your life has changed. Likely your interests and priorities have also changed. Take time, pause, gain perspective as to why you value what you value right now. This will be the center point from which you make future decisions.

Step 2: Create a Vision for What You Want Your Life to Look Like in the Future

Prioritize yourself. It’s not selfish. It’s self-care. 

What makes you happy?  What gives your life meaning? What lights you up?

With that in mind, dream; dream some more, and dream BIG.

Let nothing constrain your dreams.

Step 3: Now Is the Time to Let Go of What Holds You Back So You Can Pursue Your New Dreams

It takes enormous determination and unwavering willpower to shed the fears and limiting beliefs that hold you back from having the life you dream of.

But once you shift your mindset, you begin to see your life through a whole new lens of what’s possible. Your vision for your new life becomes clearer and you start to believe your dreams are actually possible.

It takes courage to go through life quakes, to begin again, embrace change, and to take a new direction. But once you dare to dream and once you give yourself permission to pursue those dreams, there’s no stopping you! 

Let’s Have a Conversation:

How often do you dare to dream big? Do you work on creating the kind of life that makes you feel free? What experiences put you out of your comfort zone? Have you gone through one or more life quakes that had you feeling miserable?

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From 50 to 80 its a continuing life quake. Divorced after 34 years of marriage. Took care of Mother, Grandmother and then my father he lived to be 93 years young. Took a yearto clear out their possessions. Moved to new Apartment 2 months later fell and broke my hip 1 months later screws came loose had second operation total hip replacement. Survived that then blood clot then pandemic hit stayed home 2 years became couch potato which gave me congestive heart failure not to mention have RA 2 operations on my hands. Despite the fact that I just turned 80 Im looking forward to getting stronger and out more. So yes I need new mind set. Thank you for all your wonderful articles.

Jacqueline, you are a poster child for resilience! I suspect you’re going to play full out in your 80s! Enjoy!

Diane K

Wow! You are my inspiration. Lots of obstacles, and you keep putting one foot in front of the other, all with a sense of optimism.

Last edited 10 months ago by Diane K
Roberta Central FL

WOW! You too! I just turned 80! Rita’s repeated Advice sounds easy, but HOW? That’s what I am missing; I need a new article: : HOW TOMake friends, HOW TO: Surround yourself with supportive people and HOW TO: stay positive!
After 3 years home thru COVID, isolated, without any family… I made my first step forward socially. I went with a meet-up group to see Disney’s Christmas Lights. With 2 large board walk lights not working; I fell flat on my face in the dark! I broke and had surgery on my RIGHT wrist leaving me unable to write, drive, cut a tomato one handed, etc.
I notice, after reading other comments, that 30 years later, I really miss my x-husband’s contribution! I had 1/2 the house, car, financial and life duties. I miss his contacts and social and the ability to plan trips, and events on our own. Now its more complicated as I look for a group to join for a cruise, and a group to go on a day trip. I don’t want, for instance, to go to Disney alone.
LIFE SHAKES… that’s good, I’ll use that.

Rita wilkins

Thank you for your comment and suggestion to dive deeper into the HOW. You will see additional articles about this on the future
Rita, The Downsizing Designer


Wow Jacqueline. You go girl….. I admire you.


I lost my husband of 34 years 5 months ago. I feel totally alone – half the person I was – he was my connection to so many things – his family, friends – I know I have to move forward, but just not sure yet how to do this. Even though it was a two year health battle, I was still not prepared for all the changes it has brought. It isn’t easy and although I have not curled up into a ball, I have been getting myself out and about, but all the activities we used to enjoy together are no more. I wish everyone well who is on this journey, we think we will grow old with our partner and take care of each other, at least that is what I though.

Maggie Daly

Hi Bailey it’s tough to be on your own now. I really hope you find a way through it and live a happy life. You sound lovely and I feel you’ll make new friends x


Im so sorry for your loss. I was widowed unexpectedly at age 57 in 2019. The transition is challenging. I hope you have good support for the grieving process. A book that really helped me is The Grief Recovery Handbook it’s on Amazon. Good luck. You are in good company.

Diane K

Hi Bailey. Tough journey. I have been single again for 20 years. Allow yourself to feel all your feelings, and it will get easier.


Sorry for your loss. I never suppose to become alone I love my husband he was the Best I could find . I wish you the Best


I downsized 2yrs ago when I was 58 and I’ll probably downsize again in 3yrs when I make another move. Life is good!

Joyce, downsizing and decluttering is much easier the second and third time around! Enjoy the journey!
Rita, the Downsizing Designer


I have had a big life shake…journeying alone after 40 years of marriage! I am only learning to dream BIG and for myself but it’s not easy. Take baby steps, have a good support system. Share with others who really understand like this group!! :)
Embracing change is something I am needing to do:). Thank you for your timely article. All the best to everyone too! You are stronger than you realize!

It’s never easy to face our new realities, but what you’ll likely discover is how strong you are. Surround yourself with supportive people and stay positive. Best wishes on your journey.


Peggy Brodland

Life shake… excellent term! I’m keeping this phrase. The life shake and dream big opportunity is perfect for me in this time frame. Thanks !

Peggy, it’s so important to realize you’re not alone and that it is possible to reinvent yourself after life quake
Best wishes on your journey

The Author

Rita Wilkins, known as The Downsizing Designer, is a nationally recognized interior design and lifestyle design expert, Tedx speaker and author of Downsize Your Life, Upgrade Your Lifestyle: Secrets to More Time, Money and Freedom. She challenges baby boomer audiences to reimagine, reinvent, redesign their lives to live abundantly with less. Learn more at

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