Life is all about changes and transitions. As we return to our usual routines after the summer break, the children go back to school, including my eldest starting high school, I am reminded of how true this is. Transitions and change are part of life, and ensure we continue to grow and learn.
Change is constant
Change and dealing with the period of transition that is associated with these changes, can be hard. Yet, change is always present in the way we experience life.
Many of the changes and transitions we experience are exciting, even if they are challenging.
A promotion at work can mean end of a phase of your career – that’s a change.
Learning the ropes of the new role you've been promoted into - that's a transition.
Finally being pregnant after months or years of trying - yes, another change.
Going on maternity leave and adjusting to life at home with a baby - that's a transition.
Buying (or building) your dream home and moving house – that’s a change.
Working on making your new house feel like home - that's a transition.
Embracing the role that you feel was always meant to be - that's a transition.
As mothers; our kids starting preschool, kids finishing preschool, kids starting 'big' school, heading off to high school, leaving high school and so on… these are all changes, and with them come times of transition.
Each and every one of these life events can bring changes. Changes we can choose to celebrate, or get anxious about.
Some major life events are harder, and therefore, both deserve and require, more time to process. Divorce, the death of a loved one, the ending of a friendship, a car accident, serious illness and so on. These are difficult changes, and require time to transition and adjust to how your world is now. These are also times when you most need support.
Often feeling okay about these transitions means being present instead of filling your head with stories that make the event mean something it’s not. So much of our angst in all things, not just times of change, is due to what’s in our head rather than what’s actually happening.
It’s about recognising the fear of what the change may or may not mean, and letting the fear pass. Knowing that whether we are fearful or not, our life will continue to be full of changes.
As Buddhist teachings say, 'Impermanence is the only thing we can be sure of. Change is a constant.'
We can't go back
It can feel tempting when we are in the midst of change, whether we've chosen the change or not, to want to go back to how things were; the 'before'.
But we cannot go back.
After a significant life change, especially a change that was unwanted or that was particularly challenging, we can wish desperately to go back in time. Throughout the many significant life events I have lived through, including the loss of our second son, I often found myself wishing it could be undone. Wishing desperately, hopelessly, to go back to the innocence and naivety of 'before'.
Yet we can't go back. There is no way we can turn back the clock, and undo what has been done or fix what is no longer there.
We know this deep down, yet still can find ourselves silently wishing that we could return to the way our life was before.
The way through is to adapt
Some people love change, thrive with the newness that ongoing change brings and embrace the opportunity to grow as a result of their experience.
Others really dislike change of any sort and prefer things to stay the same.
But most of us are somewhere in the middle. We don’t necessarily love it, nor do we hate it. We adjust, cope and adapt to make the best of it.
For the majority of us, when we experience significant life events, of course we are going to adapt. Often, the adaptation we make means we feel we too have changed in a significant way as a result of our experience. Whether we have been through a major life transition such as marriage or divorce, the loss of our child, or another life changing event; we are guaranteed to change as a result of our experience.
The real question is how will we change? And in what way?
You can't go back.
You will change as a result of this experience.
The only question is how.
We grow through our experience
Knowing that we will change, it's up to us to ensure that the change we make within ourselves is positive. It's our opportunity to use our strengths and make the experience something to move forward on. A change that we can actively embrace and make the most of; a change that says 'I took the upset and turned it into a set up to make a better future. A better future for myself and my family'.
We can choose to grow as a result of our experience. Or we can choose to retreat into ourselves.
By choosing to grow, we accept what has occurred and identify what we can learn from our experience. There are so many learnings we gain as a result of life changing events and transitions.
Perhaps we learn that we are stronger than we thought.
Or maybe, we discover we have a greater support network than we had imagined.
Alternatively, perhaps we realise that what we thought we wanted from life is no longer as important and our priorities have changed. A shift in our focus, dreams and goals can occur. A reminder or confirmation of our values can also be a positive outcome after a time of transition.
These learnings all contribute to personal awareness and growth. We learn more about ourselves and our role in the world, and we adapt and grow in response.
And so, whilst there are times in my life when I wish the changes would ease up, at least for a little while, I also acknowledge that life is full of changes and times of transition.
After all, it's what keeps life interesting and helps us each grow. And for that, I am grateful.
I can help you make the changes you seek
I love to support women and men as they make positive changes in their life - and I'd love to help you too.
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