Things turn contemplative fast when life is about to completely change. You start thinking about the nights spent laughing and crying with friends, the adventures you took and those you never got off the couch for, and what unforgettable memories await. You start packing up quirky things which sat on your desk for the last few years and acted as reminders for times long past. Each walk to your office becomes a mental countdown – “This is my ___ time making this walk.” It’s scary and exciting in the most nauseating way.
Friends you rarely spent time with all-of-a-sudden want to have lunch with you. You reach out to peers in similar situations that were never sounding-boards before. Family members come out of the woodwork with congratulations and the random “When are you getting your PhD?” (Don’t worry Grandpa, I will get that doctorate.) It becomes a compounding issue because you’re forced to talk about the next steps when you haven’t completely let go of the last. You can take your life in any direction you choose. It’s exhilarating, scary, mind-blowing, and sometimes even paralyzing.
Goodbyes are outliers that suddenly become the norm. I HATE goodbyes. And don’t give me the line “It’s not goodbye, It’s see you later.” It’s a goodbye, If I see you again it is a pleasant surprise. Life throws too many curve balls to believe you will see everyone you’ve ever said goodbye to once more. You have no choice but to become comfortable with goodbyes during transition.
Major transition is scary because it’s hard to understand. The variables are too great to wrap your head around. Being content is easier because it allows you to hide flawed moments behind the normal ones. Transition pushes you to unearth all the grimy details in preparation for the next chapter. That’s called reflection. Reflection is where learning happens – not change, transition, or struggle. Reflections leads to insights. Reflection leads to growth. Reflection leads to a better you. This type of deep reflection means coming face-to-face with your foundation-shaking failures and your ego-boosting successes.
I’m not scared anymore about my upcoming transition. I was. I was scared out of my mind. Luckily I’ve been through a few of these before and I know that fear is not only natural but necessary. I also know that this moment in time is the calm before the storm. I am standing in the eye of a hurricane waiting for the next battering when I will question all of my decisions once more.
To all of those who’ve recently gone, are going, or just went through a transition I want to share this: Stay strong, stay grounded, talk often with those you love, and the path that lay ahead only brings new and wonderful adventures.