The purpose of transitions
The unpretty reality of growth and four steps along the way to stay sane.
We are constantly moving toward something, doing something, working to achieve something. We are so obsessed with forward motion that taking a little breather can quickly trigger feelings of missing out on opportunities. Why are stillness and reflection so difficult? Being zen about (work) life may be common sense now-a-days, but it’s far from being common practice.
Is it in our nature to constantly seek the thrill of what’s next?
It gives us hope to believe that tomorrow will have the answers, will be better. That the next step will help us reach our potential. That we need to actively put things into motion or else we’re passive, things happening to us instead of by us.
I have been on a slow, very slow, journey of transition for a few years now. Somewhere along the way I realized that it’s not so much about reaching the next phase as it is about leaving the last one behind me — and leaning into the process more intentionally.
First, let’s be clear: I’m not speaking of the small transitions that take us from A to B, but of the big ones that completely change the alphabet we’ve been using. The big transitions that take us into completely new seasons and chapters of life, new lifestyles or career paths.
Transitions can feel short and brief, or long and winding. It comes with confusion, frustration, doubt. A transition is never a tidy step with a beginning and an end. It’s actually common to have lots of back and forths (believe me, I’ve been there and it is more normal than we like to believe).
So how do we stay sane when all we want to do is fast-forward through the awkwardness? Learning from and analyzing my own periods of transition out of professional curiosity (or compulsion, take your pick), I took a deep look at the not-so-pretty reality of growth and compiled a few insights that might help us embrace our difficult in-betweens.
If you find yourself caught in a state of flux and change, I hope this acts as a guide and makes you feel less alone. I invite you to ponder them, add to them or even pick them apart. Every transition is personal.