I started this post back in January hoping it would reflect the transition I was going through at the time: Leaving flex-time volunteer work, and writing, to return to full-time work in a new field.
The change of pace was daunting at the time and I wondered how I would continue to pursue the things I enjoyed, and the friendships I developed, while transitioning back to the professional workplace. My new schedule got in the way of completing this post on time, and I realized that I needed to give myself the permission to accept that this was a period of change and adjustment: I wouldn't have time for everything, at least not immediately, and not all at once!
Fast forward three months and things are falling into place. I am settled in my new job and loving it! I didn't know work could be so fun and fulfilling: I stepped into something that feels so perfect for where I am in my life today. What helped with the transition was remaining open to all that was coming my way: an abundance of new information, adjusting to dressing up to work every day, lunch at my desk (not leisurely at my kitchen table listening to a podcast or catching up on reading!), ancillary office noise that could be a distraction if I allowed it to be! I just welcomed it all as part of the Yes when I accepted the job and the life transition that came with it.
Shutterstock: Beautiful cosmos flowers blooming in garden
Transition is a process, sometimes it's tidy and linear and other times it's a big fog and feels overwhelming.
Transitions are an inevitable part of life. We experience them all the time, even if we don't notice them: We transition from sleep to waking, from night to day, from active to sedentary, all in a day. But sometimes transitions are more consequential and impactful, and perhaps the beginning of something new. They can be an exciting time of renewal just as much as they can provoke fear of the unknown and a sense of anxiety or uncertainty.
When I transitioned back to full time work in early December, I was filled with mixed emotions: anxiety, excitement, fear of the unknown, but also readiness. I imagined a whole new way of being in my life. So I said yes to the possibility of growth; Yes to the challenges that come with a new job; Yes to a new field; And yes to saying bye to leisure time which I prize so much. It's all part and parcel of the transition: A delicate balance between seeking the new and letting go of the old in order to step into an expanded version of ourselves; And ideally we do this with an open mind and an absence of expectations so that we allow the full potential of the experience to unfold.
I happen to love transitions, especially if they are voluntary. Perhaps I am a neophyte, a person who seeks renewal and fresh experiences so that life stays interesting while keeping me curious. Sometimes, transitions are thrust upon us and they are hard when we are not prepared for them. That's the time to remind ourselves to stay present and ease into the situation rather than try to resist it, which is our natural tendency. I like to think it's best to roll with the challenge/ fear and believe it is meant to be happening to enable personal growth and awakening: A transition to a more evolved version of ourselves.
Clarity and wisdom will eventually follow.
I think back to 2020 when the Covid pandemic hit, and most of us were forced to transition to a diminished version of our lives: At home, isolated from friends and family, unable to travel or attend public events, visit museums, go to the gym, and do the things that make us feel alive. We were forced to adapt to a life that felt more inward-looking, and for many, this was hard. For others, it was a time to enjoy the nurturing qualities of home and family, of homemade meals and a social network of close friends. Good things came out of this time of quiet and confinement, and technology played a big role. On a personal level, it was the beginning of my blog, a project I had postponed for three years. I enrolled in online writing workshops, eager to be more deliberate with my own writing practice. It would have been easy to be unmotivated, lethargic or filled with the angst that surrounded me and my community. I am glad I looked beyond that and focused on creative endeavors instead. It was a way to stay positive and connected to others, while honing a skill and developing new friendships. It was also an avenue to make meaning out of the uncertainty. My writing group became an important anchor and support system, and I enjoyed the sense of a forward-moving momentum rather than stagnation.
Shutterstock: Bicycle vintage with heart balloon
Relationships also go through transitions: Our partners, children, parents, friends go through their own evolution and this impacts the way we relate to one another. Where once our children needed our full attention and guidance, they eventually transition into young adults and, as parents, we need to acknowledge their changing needs too. We let go but not fully, reminding them, and ourselves, that connectedness, rather than separation is what we all need. It's the definition of love without the grasping; And a successful transition is precisely that, in order to make room for the new.
On the other side of the spectrum, our parents age, and the responsibility falls on their children to support them physically, emotionally and spiritually. It's a transition that can happen suddenly, in the case of an unforeseen health event, or gradually, as the aging process takes over.
As I find myself back at work, I am embracing the opportunity to meet new people, form bonds with my colleagues, learn new skills, be adaptable and flexible to situations as they arise. In due course, I know I will be able to carve out consistent time to write and engage in my creative pursuits. Like I did today! It felt good. I just need to be deliberate about it and make it matter enough so that it doesn't get neglected; Like making sure my full time job doesn't mean not seeing friends or reading a good book, or spending quality time at home with my family. It's about deciding what matters enough, so that no matter what, these things remain an integral part of my life, even when other distractions are competing for my attention!
When I was pondering the topic of transition for this piece, I thought it would be valuable to ask others what their perspective on the subject is.
Here are some responses:
"Transition to me feels like a natural part of living life fully: endings and beginnings. Embracing the changing seasons and milestones of life. Leaving something behind to venture forth into something new - a sense of flow and change. Time to move on, either deliberately or unexpectedly but also making room for growth. It includes loss, grief and fear but also courage and curiosity. All the transitions that I've experienced in my life have involved a leap of faith in some way but also a deep trust in myself and others. I can't imagine life without transitions! It would be like dwelling in a stagnant pool. It's a process of transformation that I'm constantly seeking." Zeina Charara
"For me, a transition is that uncomfortable space between change"- Christine Bergsrud
"On first impulse, transition means new beginnings, with a positive intent. That's the first part, the idealization of a transition. Then comes challenge, or rather, challenges: The struggle to really cope in a transitory period. And questioning of oneself, of the situation, of life"- Ghida Choucair
"Transitions are a natural part of life. Joy is our purpose. If we don't choose to take the steps in that direction, the universe will do it for us...
Through the experience, however challenging, we expand and clarify more desires". Rania Lababidy (you can visit her website for more on this and other related topics at https://rania.world/
"Transition is the moment of breathlessness between taking and giving back the oxygen/energy of the universe. It is a constant to embrace and that gives us the pause, however infinitesimal, to reassess our unique journey". Geraldina Wise - https://www.geraldinawise.com/
"A transitional time can feel unsettling; Let's turn this narrative around and see how being in the place of the unknown is actually beneficial for our growth and evolution- Sharon Feanny
"Eagerly anticipated in my youth. An inbuilt hunger for more. Different. New.
Tolerated in middle age. An inevitable part of working internationally. Constant
change. New places, people, experiences. Lost places, people and experiences.
Accepted as I age. Simply inevitable. A part of life I sometimes welcome, more
often resist, but which will happen whatever I feel.
If life were a mathematical equation, Life would equal transition.
When I understood that, then came peace." Wendy Sargeant
Send me your thoughts on transition by signing in to this website and going to comments. I would love to hear your experience on the subject.