March and April are hard months, aren’t they? They aren’t definitive like the months preceding them or coming after them. The cold weather of winter and the warm weather of summer are predictable. March and April are unpredictable. They are transitional periods in between seasons.
Clarity about transitions
The same is true for transitional seasons of life. Life transitions occur for a variety of reasons:
- Change of job, profession, or retirement.
- Relationship changes from being single to married, married to divorced, or married to being widowed.
- Parenting seasons from being childless to having babies, raising kids to raising teens, from fledging* kids to being empty-nesters.
- Health conditions.
- Grief or loss of any kind.
5 Principles for Transitions
Here are five principles to understand transitional seasons of life, no matter your age or circumstances.
1. Transitions can feel hard, strange, or awkward. Transitions may or may not have a clear beginning or end. Even when they do, the new situation may not feel comfortable or secure yet. Transitions naturally feel awkward until you get use to the new normal or the definitive change occurs.
2. There can be loss in transition, so allow yourself to grieve. You might have lost a loved one, a relationship, or an identity role. You might have lost a way of life or health you can’t get back. If there is loss in your transition, give yourself the grace to grieve that loss.
3. Find joy and peace where you are. The awkwardness of transitions can consume your daily attitudes, behaviors, and relationships. You may live in the land of looking back or complaining about life until the “new” is more defined. Don’t miss out on life where you are, because it’s the life you have. Find joy and peace with who you are, where you are, even if it’s not where you want to be.
4. Invest in relationships and purpose where you are. Appreciate the people in your life who love and support you and invest in what gives meaning to you in your transition.
5. Keep moving forward. Transitions are movements from one place to another. Trains and semi-trucks transition products from the warehouse to the retail store. Rehab or chemotherapy are transitional interventions for healing or better quality of life. Raising your last child is a transition between the full house and the empty nest. No matter what is your transitional phase of life, don’t get stuck, stagnant, or stay in your grief.
Keep moving forward physically, emotionally, mentally, and relationally. Grief and loss over the past can settle into depression. Feeling out of control in the transition can trigger anxiety. Discontentment over the unpredictability in transition can create bitterness, resentment, and angst.
Rather than get stuck in between the past and the future, move forward in the areas over which you have control. If you need assistance from a friend, mentor, pastor, or counselor to do this, reach out. Support people during transitions are a great help!
Are you or have you been in a time of transition? Reach out to help another or to build community around you in the hard seasons of “in between” life! Do you need help in your season of transition? I’d love to help you in a coaching relationship. For more information, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
(*Fledging a term coined from my book on this season of life, Fledge: Launching Your Kids Without Losing Your Mind).