“Life is one big adjustment:”
You don’t have to live very long to know that life is filled with swift transitions. Some of us never come to terms with this simple truth. Therefore, when change comes to town, we lose ourselves. We fidget. We fuss. We get mad. Case in point: Check your Facebook newsfeed to see how many ‘friends’ are livid about being “forced to use TimeLine.” If we get this exorcised over these kind of small, inconsequential changes, it’s no wonder we lose all sense, decorum, and manners when larger adjustments need to be made.
Life is not static. Adjustments are inevitable.
For instance, our family is in the midst of a huge transition while in the middle of a another huge transition. In March we moved from Northern California to Central Texas (save yourself the trouble, we’ve heard all the jokes). In doing so, we more than halved our income. Believing it was God’s will, we moved. Our girls changed schools, I began ministering to and with a new church, and we moved in temporarily with my mother-in-law.
For the first time since our oldest daughter was born, my wife, Rochelle, has returned to full-time work. What’s more, both our daughters are in day school and will have homework each night and now we are looking for a house to call our own.
Transition. Transition. Transition.
Accompanied by stress, stress, stress.
But we are determined not only to make it through these transitions, but to do so with increasing love for each other and joy in this season of life. We’ve come to see that there are some helpful practices which help us better navigate transition.
- It’s The Transition, Stupid. Transitions upset the apple-cart and the easiest way to handle all the emotions and change is to lash out at one another. There are a lot of emotions when life changes and often we no idea where those emotions come from. When tempted to emotionally erupt, remind yourself (and others), “It’s the transition, Stupid.” You’re not upset with people, you’re stressed by the transition.
- Have A Plan. Transitions create ambiguity. It’s wise to form a plan around what needs to happen and who is responsible for which pieces. Times of changeover require clarity that you might not otherwise need. Having a plan as to who’s cooking dinner, driving the kids, doing laundry, etc… will decrease anxiety in your home and family. Plus, a plan decreases the likelihood of items falling through the cracks and everyone getting mad about it.
- Simplify Life. Our lives tend to become more complex as time goes on. Your finances, for instance, are much more complicated now than when you were in college. In flux, we need to scale back, determine what must be done and what can wait. Transitions require new tasks. Your brain hasn’t the space for the unnecessary. Clear out secondary and tertiary tasks.
- Celebrate Completion (and know you’re going to celebrate it). Our family has many traditions. One tradition is to grab frozen yogurt together the first Friday of the school year. Doing this allows us to mark the completion of a transitions. School has started. We’re in. Celebrations let people know that any given transition is over. We got through it. Life itself requires adjustment, thankfully, we’re not in the same transition forever.
As one who generally hates change, I’ve found these practices helpful. What do you do to get through adjustments?