Happy New Year to you! I hope your 2019 has been off to a good start and you are living fully. My desire for you is that this is your best year ever so far.
I have never been one to seriously contemplate the start of a new year, as my view is that I need to be ‘consciously’ living a full life regardless of me welcoming a new year or not, as my ongoing activities roll over into the new year anyway. The major thing a new year signifies for me is growing a year older.
Last year, I came across a quote in one of the lovely books I read- Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. It says, “There are years that ask questions and years that answer”, and ever since I read this quote, I’ve been thinking about transitions in life and how we can navigate these. This is what today’s post is about.
Meanwhile, if you missed my list of favourite books in 2018, have a look here.
It seems like a simple and natural progression to move through different life stages, isn’t it? For example, a child is born, learns to walk, goes to school, graduates (or not), gets a job (or not), gets married (or not), tries to change the world (or not), has children (or not), has grandchildren (or not), grows old (this is a given, no debates) and dies (eventually). Or for a less morbid example, it’s how an egg develops into a caterpillar (larva), a pupa and then a butterfly.
In our seemingly straightforward lifecycle as human beings, so many things happen- life transitions being one of them. They sometimes drop on us unannounced while some are envisaged or planned. Some of these transitions are positive or negative, could be moments of serious lows, periods of exhilarating highs, dull moments of banality, back and forth movements, a stripping of ideals, questioning of mental models that we’ve accepted without interrogating, feelings of no direction, periods of self-discovery, reflection and renewal etc.
As you know, the word transition is one of those double-edged words that is simply bewildering because experiencing it places you within a wide spectrum in this place we call life. It is a word that has its nuances and for today’s post, I’ll defer to my trusted sources to provide some clarity on what a transition is. Here’s what I came across:
I have experienced a considerable number of major transitions myself .e.g. getting married, relocating from Nigeria to South Africa, career breaks, becoming a parent, starting new jobs, a new career trajectory, difficult life moments, going back to school after a long time and much more. Events which produced significant changes and stripped me bare, leaving me with unanswered questions. Some emotions these transitional periods evoked include fear, excitement, doubt, insecurity, happiness, worry, feeling hopeful, optimism and acceptance. But I can’t state the stages of life transitions better than Richard B. Joelson who describes these as:
Because I’ve had my fair share of transitional moments in life, I am now used to seeing them as life adventures. I have also come to accept that the only thing constant thing in life is change. I must admit, it took me a while to wrap that discovery around my head, but I now get it. And because transitions are commonplace, I believe you can relate to this post as you have had your own fair share of them as well.
You’ll agree that one never remains the same after a transitional period (if you don’t resist it) and it forms a building block for life. It produces a certain level of maturity and aptitude necessary for dealing with the next transitional period, helps you prioritise what matters while expunging the unnecessary, and makes you know yourself- like truly knowing who you are and what you believe in.
As a new year begins, one thing that is for sure is that you will have new life experiences and transitional moments in 2019. Question is how do you handle these sometimes, uncomfortable periods of change?
13 Tips on Handling Major Life Transitions
I’ll leave you with the words of Joseph Campbell who said that
“opportunities to find deeper powers within us come when life seems most challenging and we must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us”.
But more resounding is this famous quote of Lao Tzu which says, “new beginnings are often disguised as painful endings”. May 2019 be a year of new beginnings for you and may you find the strength to navigate the transitions coming your way in the next 11 months.
Until we chat again, take good care of yourself.
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