In life, we experience transitions. There is no life that is exempt from this reality. These transitions can be small in nature or they can be very large. They can be easy to make or they may be very difficult. Transitions involve something new and something being left behind. Because of the variables in the transitions, our reaction to them can be varied.
Over the past month, many families have experienced transitions. The transition from summer to fall has begun and that means many young people are returning to school. Families without young people still experience transitions this time of year because the types of activities and the amount of “free time” changes. When a youth leaves home to head to college, that is a huge transition. It impacts the youth but it also impacts the parents and siblings as well.
The key to transitions is the key to most aspects of life…. how will I respond to this transition. Our responses in life determine the magnitude and nature of the impact which the transition has on us. Many times in transitions, there is a level of grief which must be handled. As I said earlier, transition means leaving something behind. While we might be grateful to leave something behind if it has been a negative in our lives, there is still an amount of grief because what we have known will be no more. Other times, leaving something behind that we have cherished is very difficult and there is a high level of grief. We must work through that grief and may even need assistance from others to work through the grief.
Transitions also elicit three basic responses. One response may be resistance; we may not want the transition to occur so we fight the transition. Another response may be acceptance; we may not prefer the transition but see it as inevitable and accept it or we may actual welcome the transition. The third is apathy; we have no strong feelings of resistance or acceptance. These responses determine a lot about how we move forward after the transition.
There is no right or wrong way to respond to transitions. There is only our response. However, being aware of the way a transition impacts us and how we are responding to that transition may provide insight in how we move forward.