The Weight of Transition
Photo credit: Ben O'Sullivan
Transitions are hard. Today is the first day of school for many and I can feel all the feels of the transition energy all around me. There’s the excitement and anxiety (which are two sides of the same coin--really the same feeling which is why Mel Robbins helped me with the trick of when you’re feeling anxious just keep repeating ‘I’m excited’ until you truly feel excited--try it--it works); there’s the sadness of the ending of one chapter. There’s the worry and regret--the sort of FOMO--we should have done this, this, and this...if only we had more time...
Transitions are hard. They are liminal spaces as you wait to establish and discover what the new normal will be.
I used to describe myself as a transitional life coach until I changed my title to transformational empowerment coach--because I started to realize that transitions are catalysts for transformation if we can get out of a victim mindset and into one of empowerment. But I digress.
Back to transitions--Transitions have always sort of fascinated me. I have worked with adolescents for the past 13 years--there isn’t much more of a transitional period than that. The transition from childhood to adulthood and all its awkward glory. I have worked with new moms--as they transition and navigate the waters of motherhood--finding their joy in their kids without losing their sense of self. I have worked with older moms--empty nesters-- as they transition into a new identity that is absent of their children who are now moving on with their adult lives. Divorcees and widows--transitioning out of life with their spouses and what that new identity looks like. Those that are on the verge of a new adventure--a new move, a new job, discovering their purpose and uncovering their inner voice. All of those things are transitions, and they all come with a unique set of challenges.
But just because I live and breath in the presence of transition on a daily basis doesn’t mean it’s any less challenging in my own life. In fact, I am still recovering from the transition of a fun weekend with visitors to getting back into the daily grind and I am gearing up for another major transition--going back to full time work in a few weeks after having my 2nd child. So I’m right there with ya--in the trenches--in the thick of this human journey.
In my experience with transitions the best way to cope is to be fully present. The Be. Here. Now. If you are present then you don’t have that FOMO or regret--living in the past, wishing you accomplished or did something differently. You don’t have all that anxiety--how is this going to turn out? What will the new normal be?
You just have the present. The feels. The overwhelm. The fear. The excitement. Being present and naming your feelings helps you control them.
Name them to tame them. Don’t shame them.
One of my greatest teachers, my almost 4 year old daughter, just modeled for me what it means to feel the feels. She had to say goodbye to my parents, her grandparents, after a fun weekend visit and she just could not control her sadness. She let it all out. She ugly cried. She tantrumed. She felt all the feels and the heaviness that all of us were feeling but were too “adult” to show.
And then she moved on...she went about her day. Her playing and her tv viewing. Her conversation and her building.
Yes there is still a sadness there and yes she wished things could be different aka her grandparents living next door to her, which she mentioned a few times--but there wasn’t the heaviness or the weight that this transition held when she allowed herself to process her feelings. And yes watching the break down was painful--for both of us. But it was also vulnerable and beautiful--and so damn human.
But as adults we tell ourselves that our feelings don’t matter. That we should feel a certain way. That we are not supposed to feel how we feel. We trivialize and we shame and we build up anger and resentment and blame. And we think we’re supposed to be ‘perfect’ and not have any issues or even worse, feelings.
Transitions are hard but they can also be beautiful. They can inspire us to make changes in our lives. They can open us up to new awarenesses and uncover truths. They can help us and those around us grow. They can empower us and transform us.
Wherever you are on your human journey, I am sure you are in the process of or about to embark on a transition. And today I want to say: I feel you and all the weight of that transition--and I want you to give yourself permission to let it be less heavy. Feel all those feels. Ugly cry. Journal. Phone a friend. Grieve and mourn. Be present.
And then move forward with your day--because there is lots to see and do but we can’t see and do until we feel and be first. So allow yourself to feel the feels and be human.
Happy journeying friends.