We all go through major life changes in careers, relationships, goals, finances, and even moods. Have you ever wondered how we get from one life cycle to the next? I believe we get there via transition periods, which can last hours to years. Transition phases can often be difficult and uncertain, and take more time than we expect or hope for.
As examples, I have one friend who lost his job over a year ago, and is still looking for work. I have three friends, two here in Palm Springs and one in the Bay Area, who lost their long-time partners several months back and they are finding it difficult to move on with their lives. I have another friend who is having trouble adjusting to retirement.
I’m currently experiencing a transition of sorts. Last week I completed a novel I’ve been developing, on and off, for the last three years. I normally celebrate the closure of a new book, but not this time. This time I’ve been deeply depressed, because so much of my life experience went into this story. It truly was a work of love, and now that it’s done I’m having a difficult time moving to the next project.
Society expects, and most of us have bought into this idea, that moving swiftly from one cycle to the next is a good thing. We want instant gratification and to move quickly. I’m convince that moving quickly to the next cycle robs us of time to reflect on where we’re coming from, and gives us no time for deep thought about which direction we want to tackle next. A transition period is a time to heal, and a time to plan, and we shouldn’t rush that.
Today I realized that my depression is a transition, and it’s taking much longer than I’m used to. I also realized that this change is important, and I need to experience it, let it have its own time. I find myself thinking a lot, reevaluating my goals and desires as a writer. I’m clarifying what my next cycle, as a writer, will look like.
So my point in this post is: If you’re caught in a transition phase, don’t kick yourself too hard if it’s taking longer than you expected to sort through it. Let it take as long as it needs. Life is not a race.
On the other hand, I don’t believe in wallowing in pain. If you’re ready for change to happen and know where you want to go, then take action. Make it happen. And you do that by taking a few steps in the desired direction, and then a few steps more, repeat, repeat.
Pretty soon, you’re off and running.