I was reading an article in my Writer’s Digest journal that was focused on improving “transitions.” I barely got through the first two paragraphs when I began thinking about how I handle transitions in life.
I’ve always thought that I handled change pretty well. I attributed that to growing up in an alcoholic family. I never knew what to expect. In fact I began to anticipate the instability and changing nature of life. I was hypervigiliant to the subtle cues that change was on the horizon. Being ready helped me to stay with or sometimes even ahead of the fallout from the looming change.
At my last professional position (mental health counselor for children in out of home placement), changes seemed occur on a weekly—and often dailiy. The expectations and formats for paperwork was a constant source of change. I would get irritated by the constant complaining by my co-workers related to the changes. Their inflexibility baffled and frustrated me. Amidst that environment I thought I was thriving. I remember telling people that I could handle the changes because my nickname was Gumby ( a direct reference to my ability to bend with the flow.
Then life began to throw transitions at me that I found I wasn’t equipped for. The worst one happened as my older daughter graduated from high school and moved half-way across the country to go to college. But the difficulty of that transitional was compounded as the younger daughter began her preparations for graduation and moving on to college the next year.
The panic that set in and he overwhelming sense of uselessness took me completely by surprise. The stage was set for desperate actions. I had to prove my value, that I was still needed. So superwoman rose to the occasion. Or so I thought.
So, sitting there in my kitchen I concluded that I’m not Gumby. And I’m not superwoman. I’m a just a person who is faced with the challenges of change. Sometimes I respond well, but other times I am blindsided, ambushed, and overwhelmed. That makes me human. And that’s ok.
This year has truly been one that has been crammed full of changes: Penelope was born; I quit my job to baby sit her; I was hired to teach philosophy and church history; I was fired; Ann and Travis bought a house; Ann and Penelope moved to their new house; Nelson got two new positions at Home Depot; Nelson started working third shift; Nelson got a new job (the one he has now); we moved to Ashland; and we know about all the changes that have resulted since that.
I wonder what changes lie ahead. I’m especially mindful of this with the New Year crouching around the corner. I don’t know what’s out there. Surprisingly, I’m not worried about it either. I’m not going to get caught up in watching, wondering, over-anticipating. I know whatever comes my way I’m going to be okay. My ability to adapt will