Managing Transitions

It is easy to be surprised at our reaction to a new job or a new situation. We may think there is something wrong in finding it difficult.

Understand it this way. You start in an area (before the transition) where there are some clear definitions about who you are, what you do, what success looks like etc. You may also have assumptions about the way the world is, what's good and what's bad. Then something happens that dissolves those definitions and challenges those assumptions. Looking back at your life, you'll realise that you've come through many transitions from babyhood on: the new baby, going to school, adolescence, getting a job and many others. The loss of our original definition of who we are and what counts as OK can put us in a funny state: insecure, vulnerable, very wobbly. As well as being in a state of anticipation or a sense of potential we may also feel irritable, blaming or angry. This can be true for transitions we've chosen voluntarily as well as for those forced on us.

The intermediate state between how we were and how we are going to be is a kind of 'No-person's land'. The skill is in managing that state so that we don't either cling too tightly to the old state or rush too desperately to the future.

Here is the secret for coping:

Value the transition, live with the discomfort, and good things will happen.

The main thing is to find some way of being active in the situation without trying to solve it straightaway.This means finding something which helps you manage the discomfort: doing yoga regularly, eating nutritious food, taking exercise, keep in touch with friends - anything which helps you maintain a sense of balance. If you would like more information or references about the subject, you can email me from the contact section of this web site.

It is still worth looking at "Passages: The Predictable Crises of Adult Life" by Gail Sheehy " She has some useful idea and takes them further in her newer book "New Passages: mapping your life across time"