Life transitions are predictable changes in our lives associated with a discontinuity with the past. With each change we must give up the protective structures which have carried us through and then face the world anew with a sense of fragility and vulnerability. These times of disruption may force us to test the limits of our ability to adapt. However, with each transition we have the opportunity to learn a great deal about our inner coping resources and to ask ourselves what we really want out of life. This period of self-reflection can then lead to self-renewal and a new phase of stability and eventual equilibrium.
Sometimes life transitions occur because we find ourselves in a rut. We may have the nagging feeling that something is wrong, although we can’t quite put our finger on the reasons. Our lives are not going the way we thought they would and time is passing us by. We feel that it is time for a change. This can happen at any time. But, it’s most common during the “predictable crises of adult life” which often accompany our decade changes (i.e. our 20’s, our 30’s, our mid-life years).
Life transitions are composed of an ending, a “neutral zone”, and a new beginning. Endings are difficult for most people, even when we are unhappy with the way things used to be. The known is more comfortable than the unknown. Once we let go, however, we enter a period of feeling disconnected from the past but not yet connected to the present – the neutral zone. This is a time which can engender great self-reflection, an assessment of what we really want out of life, and a time to reorient ourselves toward the future. Finally, the new beginning completes the successful transition. This is when we embark on a journey of new priorities and a sense of a renewed future.
Life Transitions guidelines:
- Give yourself enough time
- Arrange temporary ways of living
- Tolerate discomfort
- Take care of yourself during the transition
- Find the support you need
Click here to read our Life Transitions Newsletter.