When my husband and I were preparing to move from Bermuda to Las Vegas in 2012, a very good friend of ours gave us some great advice. While we were concerned about the logistics of the move (job, house, schooling), he reminded us of something that was much more important. He said to us, “Even though you’re experiencing something new and exciting, transitions are hard. Be aware of how this is impacting you and your relationships.”
Transitions can be difficult for many reasons.
- They lead us into the unknown
- They bring us out of comfort zones
- We miss what we left behind
- They highlight our bad choices
I like change. In fact, I get bored very easily and yearn for new experiences on a regular basis, but this move was a particularly difficult for me. At the time, I was about six months into the US Green Card application process. I was visiting the US for Christmas, but there was a real possibility that I would have to leave the US for up to two years without my family. The thought of it made me want to cry. There was literally nothing I could do – but wait. I’m not so great with waiting.
Through a series of administrative errors, I was given my Green Card in a record 8 months. I was working full-time less than a month later. So much for having to wait! Things worked out in our favor, but it didn’t negate the fact that the transition brought things out in me that I didn’t even know were there.
I look back on this time and wish I could have done things differently. In retrospect, I should have been able to identify the recurring patterns in my life. Like money, transitions are magnifiers. They simply highlight who you already are. It’s not the transition in and of themselves, but the accompanying stress and uncertainty that can reveal our ugly parts.
I wish I could have handled this time with more grace and confidence, but all wasn’t lost. Through this transition, I learned the following –
- I am extremely impatient (Ok, I’ve always known that, but it was much worst during this stressful time).
- I default to “inaction” when I don’t have all the answers.
- I use my words very carelessly when I face stress.
I now recognize when I’m engaging in these negative behaviors and stop them before they start. They’re no longer my default.
How to grow during times of transition –
- Stand firm on your foundation. Whether that be faith, family or friends, trust that your support system won’t let you down when things are at their worst.
- Embrace the changes happening inside you. Though they may be uncomfortable, trust that you will become a better person through them.
- Learn and grow from the past. Transitions don’t have to catch us off-guard every time. Though you might not be able to control the changes coming your way, you can control how you react to them.
Transitions are hard, but they don’t have to take a toll on you and the people you love. Enjoy them for what they are – exciting, new experiences that can help you become a better version of yourself.