Life is full of transitions. We are always moving from one thing to another or morphing from one state of being or doing to another. Every morning we transition from sleeping to waking, only to reverse it all again at night – and wouldn’t you love to know where we go when we’re sleeping? It all seems so vague to me after the morning transition back to wakefulness.
It’s not only the things around us that are changing. We seem to be changing as well. At least as far as form or appearance goes. The reflection I see in the mirror these days only bears a faint resemblance to the images captured on 35 mm film when I was a younger man, when digital photography was still hidden in some dream state. Ageing is another expression of transition, although, thankfully, it’s a slow motion experience for most of us. Once, when we were warriors, we had initiation rites for significant transitions. Now we’re expected to just get on with it. The end result, in our modern world, is we tend to skate on the surface of life and ignore the deeper issues. We experience our transitions as anxieties and treat them with pills, instead of immersing ourselves into them as opportunities for personal growth.
Some transitions can be painful, like the one going from being married to being divorced – and not only for the couple but for all those around them. That’s one transition that a lot of us do not do well, because we don’t know how to let go in a loving way or we refuse to allow the other to grow when we want to stay the same or vice versa.
Another painful transition for some is moving through adolescence to young adulthood – and that one can be painful for all those around certain parties as well, and it’s not always the kids causing the pain.
Sometimes, when you’re in transition you’re aware that you’re leaving one way of being but you’re not quite aware of where you’re going or how you’re going to get there or what it’s going to be like when you do get there, wherever there is. I’m entering into one of those transitions now.
After forty years in the workforce, retirement is looming on the horizon and, in my part of the world, the very nature of retirement itself is changing. Once you got a gold watch, played a few rounds of golf, went on a trip and then died. Now, thanks to modern medicine, electricity, food abundance and retirement savings plans, some of us can look forward to twenty or thirty years or more of post workforce life.
For many of us, the idea of retirement is scary. If you have your identity wrapped up in what you do, you wonder who you will be when you stop doing it. If you’re in charge of a work team or a workplace, you wonder who you will be when you’re no longer in charge of anyone or anything. If your life is your work, you wonder what will be your life when the work part is gone.
This is one of those transitions you need to put some serious planning into, otherwise you risk waking up one morning with nothing to do, no-one to play with and sixteen hours to kill before you can transition back to sleeping.
Illustrations from OpenClipArt.org
Thanks for dropping by, Peter.