It is like being thirteen years old again. There is an uncertainty in it, a confusion of identity and a physical transformation along with an emotional one too. Yes, lots going on here!
It starts with that familiar ‘unfamiliar’ feeling. When you don’t seem to fit in with your environment or you feel you would fit in if you were older, bigger, thinner or better in so many ways. Right now… you don’t!
You feel that feeling many times in life. – Starting with the ending of your college or university life, the end of any era in your life. A time when you are not sure where you’ll end up.
It can happen when you lose a close friend, or he/she moves away. Or when you lose your job and suddenly, you don’t belong where you belonged for so long. You are no longer ‘one of the clan.’
Your identity is shaken.
When you get married, it is another transitional phase in life. Your identity is deeply entangled with another’s. Your days and nights change and so do your habits, and you yourself seem to have transformed.
Then, after marriage its transition after transition for instance when you are just the two of you. Then the baby arrives and transitions everything else in your life! Then, you face transitions as your child grows through different phases in life. So, it goes on…
It is a transitional phase in life when you get ‘unmarried’, I mean divorced or widowed.
So, these phases in life keep repeating themselves many times.Surprise, is the key factor here. Suddenly you are in a new phase of life, and now you’ve got to cope. Some phases like marriage and college life etc. give you time to get adjusted. But things like death, or getting downsized at your job, usually come suddenly. So you find your life suddenly changing without any warning. It comes with a big bang! You know, you cannot turn the clock back.
The funniest part is, if it’s a sad happening, like loss of a job, or an accident, you have a harder time, ‘breaking the news’ to your loved ones. You don’t want to upset them. That is so funny, I mean it has happened to you and you are worried about the others! First thought is “how will I tell them?” Usually, you want time alone, preferably with God. A quick two naffals usually makes one feel better. Then you want to break the news gently, so your loved ones aren’t too upset. “I’ll tell them early in the morning, so they have the whole day to work it out of their system, and it doesn’t spoil their sleep.”
The next thing is, all the things you were ‘tolerating’ in that situation come to mind… and you think. Well, now I won’t have to ‘tolerate’ all those things now! Good. That’s the way to cope. Think of all the ‘bad’ things in the previous situation… (that job wasn’t so well paid either! The hours were too grueling. The commute was gruesome.) “Now I’m free of that!” Yes! – You are thinking of the bright side. Good.
Then, you think of the even brighter side: Now I can get a better paid job. “This time I won’t make all those silly mistakes I did.” Enjoy the thought of all that freedom. Best of all is being able to lie late in bed and watch your favorite programs. Indulge in your hobbies. Even better is not having to meet some personalities in that office. Even better is going for a walk in midweek in a park. Purposely visiting friends and making plans in time zones which were ‘out of the question’ in your previous life.
Realize, it is the end of one era….. and the beginning of the next one!
Let us see how one can settle into the new phase as soon as possible:
- Get a reality check. See exactly where you stand now. Check out what else has changed, due to the changes.?
- Check your financial status. It is true your piggy bank is not so noisy, (or maybe it is) but then in case of a job loss, now you won’t have to buy all those clothes or bags or get that much petrol for commuting to office and so on. So much of one’s pay does get spent due to the job itself too! Also, you can cut down the expensive shopping and outings, and bring in the comfort foods and old favorite clothes. Have a good financial meeting with yourself, and find the financial bonuses in your life which you had missed earlier.
- Check the time factor: you have more time for your hobbies, and all those other things that just couldn’t fit into your previous life. Now, you have time to spend with friends. More important you have time to spend on managing your assets better. You do the paper work more efficiently, and work out other possibilities too. Make a point to specially chalk out activities for the time-slots that make you vulnerable. Fill them in with all that was getting left out due to your job/friendship/or whatever it is that you are transitioning from. Now, you have your ‘future’ in your hands, do activities which take you there.
- I’m sure you will find plenty to help you cope. (As you Listen to the ‘break up’ Indian song: ‘dil pay pathar rakh kay moon pay make up kar liya!’) ….
- Yes, there is a brighter side to life wherever you stand – provided you are looking that way.
Just find it and hold on to it.
Know that through transitional phases you can walk into your future. Best and most important factor to remember is that it is all from Allah, and if He is behind it, then He surely will have something good in its place.
It is true that after autumn, comes the hard cold winter. Know, that after the winter, comes the beautiful spring!
I guess, you can say that transition is part of growth. You find it all over the place in nature. Look hard, how each season turns to the next one, that’s how it is in our lives too. Usually, such transitions do come with ‘early warning signals’ which we may or may not notice. The more we notice, the better prepared we are. However, adapting to change as quickly as possible is best, just sit down and write down all the good parts in the past scenario and then let everything go.
It is time to enjoy the present in your life. Know that ‘this too shall pass’. After all this too is a transitional phase in life.
Two things will take you a long way:
- Prayers with a solid Man -to- God-talk, I mean woman-to-God-talk. (Remember not to ask that silly question “Why me????”!)
- Give charity in financial terms and in kind. This will bring you in contact with people less fortunate than yourself, and help you in realizing how blessed you really are.
Perhaps life itself is a transitional phase, and so we’ve got to make the best of it – at all times. Then, get on with the best things in your life: your health and your loved ones.
Stay blessed my dear Reader. 🙂