You may be going through some dramatic, or even not so dramatic, life change and experiencing the pain of the adjustments; divorce, job-loss, retirement, empty-nest, etc. Even great transitions, like a move, a new home, a new job can put us into the transition cycle.
But, knowing about something is not the same as experiencing it and we can’t escape the experience of life transitions. All we can do is be aware of what the phases are and what to and not to do in each phase.
Much like the grieving process, there are steps in transition.
1. The Change. Any event that shifts a major portion of your life. Things can’t be put back the way they were because change or loss has happened.
- Be gentle with yourself.
- Allow all the emotions.
- Find support.
- Talk it out.
- make any sudden, permanent decisions. Your thoughts and feelings are going to change like the weather for quite a while.
- Act ‘as if’ the growth or loss hasn’t happened.
2. Experimentation. This is where you come to terms, somewhat, with things being different and start to entertain possibilities. We ‘try on’ new behaviours, attitudes and experiences we weren’t aware of or didn’t have time for before.
- Experiment with everything from new hairstyle, clothes, diet, exercise to new friends, clubs, activities.
- decide anything permanently. Trying new experiences is to help discover what the ‘new’ you really wants to become. Much of what seems exciting may soon lose its appeal, because it’s just not you, and you’re not you, yet. (liminal spaces)
3. Implementation. We now have some new activities or habits occupying our time. This can be an adjustment period for others who are used to us being a certain way and we must adjust to how we see and do things differently.
- take your time and get things ‘just right.’ This is your life, after all, you get to decide how it will go.
- believe that you’re done adjusting. Tweaking the new you will take time.
4. The New Permanent. The cycle has been completed and you have a new normal.
- enjoy yourself and your life, you’ve weathered a transition and you are better for it.
- be surprised when another transition happens.
I struggled with the ‘empty-nest’ stage. I denied just how difficult it really was and I think that prolonged it. The thing is, in order to get to a happy, ‘New Permanent,' I had to go through the tough process, otherwise I would still be hanging on to what can never be again, robbing myself of what’s great about now.
Again, knowing the steps and what to expect WILL NOT exempt us from going through the process to become different. We need to adapt (we are awesome adapters!). Change is how we grow and learn and become more of who we are meant to be.
Be gentle, be patient, be observant. Get support.