Let’s talk about the importance and the value of transitions in your life. A transition is that time when you’re going from one thing to another—from one place to another. It’s that in-between time, that gray area. Many of us always feel like we have to go from one relationship to another immediately, or we have to go from one job into another job immediately. Or, maybe we don’t want to live where we are anymore. We feel we have to find the perfect place to go or change careers. It’s absolutely vital to have some time in between, which is our transition time. It’s that ‘up in the air’ time.
We’re right in the middle, where we have time to step back and refresh, re-energize, and recharge our batteries. We may engage in some activities we normally don’t or don’t have the time or opportunity to do. Transition time is even important when we lose people, either to death or relationships ending in one way or another. It’s good to have transition times to just say, Okay, this is who I am. This is where I am right now.
Sometimes we don’t even quite know who we are when we leave one thing and go on to another. You do want to relax and spend time in nature. It’s important to do things that are fun or enjoyable to you, things that you wouldn’t normally do or wouldn’t have time to do. Those could be things such as volunteering somewhere like an animal shelter or any place that makes your heart sing. You could take a temporary or part-time job for now. Maybe if you work in an area where there’s a lot of summer tourists you could get a job at a food stand or something that caters to tourists in the summer. This is an opportunity to do something that you might not do under normal circumstances but would be fun to do on a temporary basis.
When we’re in that transitional space, not only are we re-energizing ourselves, we’re getting reacquainted with who we are! It gives us an opportunity to reflect on where we’ve been, and where we want to go. I often hear people (especially women) say to me, “I’m getting ready to make a change.”
Maybe you’re retiring or your kids are all grown or you know you want to do something else, but you don’t know what you want to do yet. You’re not sure what your next step is and you don’t know where you want to go from here. I hear that all the time. I say, “That’s great! Perfect, and exactly as it should be! Right now, this is your transition time.”
I encourage you to get out and meet new people, attend networking events, and try some new things. Go to the public library. You never know what you’re going to come upon there! Take a trip…a day trip, a short trip, or a long trip. Go to a city you’ve been wanting to visit for a while—anything that’s going to give you new experiences, giving you an opportunity to refresh and get excited again.
Journal and do some reading of inspirational books or spiritual books to really get in touch with yourself. You’re creating positive momentum. When you do that—when you move in a positive forward direction—you create that momentum. The right path, whatever that is, will eventually reveal itself to you. There’s a beautiful line in the poem Traveler, There Is No Path that says, “You create the path by walking it.” You can’t stay put and say, ‘I just don’t know what my next move is.’ You need to start moving forward. And in so doing, the right path/opportunity will eventually reveal itself to you.
Transitional times make us feel vulnerable. That’s one reason why we try to skip them! We want to go from here to there because the job or the relationship or the living arrangement gives us some sort of sense of security. Even though there isn’t any real security in life, we can only find security within ourselves. As scary as vulnerability is, it’s a necessary place to be because that is the portal to help us transition from one place to the next, opening us up to who we really are to reach our full potential, see all of our opportunities, and live our highest and best life.
Whether you’re transitioning from being at home out into the world after the pandemic, or you’re between jobs or relationships, or you’re getting ready to retire, or anything else, don’t worry about being in transition. Be sure to make space for that transitional time. Don’t feel nervous about it. Breathe deeply, just take some time to slow down, do some new things, and know that transition time is a necessary step for you to go to the next, higher level of whatever it is that you want, or need to do in your life. Transitions are important. Welcome them, celebrate them. Enjoy them.
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Donna Cardillo, RN, CSP, FAAN
Donna Cardillo, MA, RN, CSP (Certified Speaking Professional), FAAN (Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing) is The Inspiration Nurse. She is a powerhouse of energy, wisdom, humor, and solid content and has been referred to as a positive force of nature who lights a path for others to follow. Donna is the author of the award-winning book Falling Together: How to Find Balance, Joy, and Meaningful Change When Your Life Seems to Be Falling Apart. She is also the author of Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional 2nd ed., The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career 2nd ed., and A Day Book for Beginning Nurses. Donna is a Reiki Master, Certified Forest Therapy Guide, Certified Meditation Teacher, and labyrinth facilitator. When she is at her home base in Sea Girt, NJ, she serves as a local spokesperson for family caregivers.