When it comes to our wardrobes, most of us love the transition from one season to the next. I’m currently loving this fall top, these high-waisted jeans, and these scalloped flats. But in our personal lives, we tend to fear transitional phases.
During a recent flight to Boston I was delayed for seven hours in the airport. With time to kill, I started talking with another passenger from my flight. He was traveling for work, but told me he didn’t really love his job. “Why don’t you find a different one then?” I asked him.
He explained that he didn’t want to go through the hassle of starting over. It took him six months to find this job. Then there was the period of learning how to do the job well. By that point he’d invested a lot and most of us don’t want to leave what we’ve invested in—even if it’s not really the best thing for us.
Often in life we are forced to transition. Maybe we lose our job. Or someone dumps us. Or someone close to us dies. While these transitions have their own set of challenges, in some ways, transitions of this variety are easier because we don’t have a choice in the matter. This thing we didn’t want to happen, happened, and now we have to adjust.
What we tend to forget—without these external nudges—is that the option to transition from one phase of our life to the next is always there. Internal nudges that might be trying to tell us that we’re unhappy in a job or relationship are easier to ignore and so we’re tempted to stay in a phase that no longer serves us longer than we should.
For most of my life I’ve had the opposite problem. I’m extremely afraid of being stuck in what’s “comfortable” and ending up in the wrong relationship or a phase of my life that’s not meant for me for too long. Because of this, I’ve changed up my life more times than I can remember, but I’ve learned a lot about transitional phrases in the process. Here are some things to keep in mind if you’re going through one or thinking about it:
Stop romanticizing the past. This is always my biggest mistake whenever I make a life transition. I’m always excited about changing my life up, but after I do, the second I have a hard day, I think about how much easier my life was in the phase I was just in and I start to romanticize the past and forget all the reasons I wanted to make this change. Being aware that this happens every time I make a transition helps me not to do it as much anymore.
Think of it each transition like an adventure. When we’re traveling things go wrong all the time, but we just accept this as part of the journey. Treating each transitional phase like an adventure helps you not sweat the small stuff.
Don’t be afraid of rejection. During transitional phases we often put ourselves out there so much more than we normally do on a daily basis either because we’re looking for a new job, or we’re open to a new relationship, or we’ve just moved somewhere new and are looking for new friends. The odds of getting rejected are higher than when we were playing it safe in our comfort zone but it doesn’t mean we’ve made the wrong decision. Oprah says it best, “Rejection is just life redirecting you.”
Don’t get attached to “where you’re going next.” When I leave something behind to move on to something new, I often have an idea in my head of where I’m headed. But I’ve learned that by staying open to where that place might be, new opportunities that I couldn’t think of when I was in my old phase of life present themselves.
Keep a journal. I learn more about myself during even weeklong transitions than I do during months where nothing much in my life changes. In this way, transitions can be rather enlightening. Keep a journal and use each transitional phase in your life as a way to get to know yourself better.
Know that it’s not easy. It’s always exciting when you first take the plunge to leave something behind. There’s a lot of adrenaline that keeps you positive in the first week or two. But a few weeks in, I find that I often panic. Knowing that that’s part of every transition helps normalize it, so we don’t freak out just because the perfect next opportunity hasn’t presented itself yet.
Change your wardrobe. A new phase of life sometimes calls for a new wardrobe! Here are some of my fall favorites.
Are you in a transitional phase of life? I’d love to hear your tips below!