The dictionary defines transitions as: a) a passing from one condition, form, stage, activity, place, etc. to another b) the period of such passing. By definition, all of life is a transition as we go through it. Some transitions can be foreseen and planned for such as a birth, marriage, “empty nest,” or retirement. Life Transitions can also come about as a result of sudden and unforeseen events such as a job loss (new job, promotion), divorce, illness, death. Life Transitions are by no means always negative events, but change can be difficult and stressful even when the events or changes themselves are seen as positive and desirable.
The period can be one of anticipation and adjustment often coupled with anxiety and discouragement, especially when the transition is experienced as unwanted or negative. When we don’t know, have difficulty anticipating, or dread the eventual outcome, discomforting emotions frequently arise. We question our ability to get through, accept and adapt to whatever the transition may be. We doubt our resilience. We experience loss and grief. We feel angry and resentful, confused and helpless, anxious and fearful. The intensity and nature of the emotions depend on the nature of the life transition. Ultimately, we gain strength and confidence from successfully managing transitions and adapting to the new state.
After 35 years I’m transitioning to solo practice. I’ve spent the vast majority of my career (the past 28 years) in practice with the same colleagues, no small achievement. I have deeply valued the years of relationship and work together. We are all transitioning to other phases of our lives and careers. During the period of transition, my feelings of grief, loss, and mourning were much greater than I anticipated – but also, I can look back at all I have learned and experienced from these relationships and benefit from it as I continue transitioning. This experience, as do all life experiences, provides me with another empathic insight into the experiences of my fellow humans as I go into the next chapter of my practice and career.