Transitions are one of the most exciting yet frightening places to be. Over the years, I have found transitional periods to be a frequent occurrence in my life. I am always moving around, traveling to new countries and starting new jobs. I adore the fact that when in a period of transition, I am completely open to a world of endless possibilities; however, this can also be very overwhelming especially when trying to make a decision as to what path to take next. I have a handful of amazing friends whom I’ve met on the road who are also experiencing a state of “What Now?” so I thought I’d share some insights on what I feel are the stages and symptoms of transition. Let me know if you agree.
The Excitement Stage.
You’ve just spent hours on a plane and the anticipation of returning home to see your friends and family is high! Those reuniting hugs are always ones that I look forward to. After spending months to years away from home, we all know how good it feels to know you’ve made it home again and you can’t wait to see and share your experiences with everyone.
The Depression Stage.
After several days of reunions, I tend to get into a funk. The realization of being back home and seeing most of the people my age either in a promising career, in a committed relationship or starting a family of their own can bring on insecurities. You feel behind on life’s seemingly unattainable “timeline” and find yourself in a bit of culture shock as you readjust to the realities of your home’s culture compared to the ones you’ve just immersed yourself in.
You find yourself reminiscing, daydreaming and wishing you were back in the country you had just flown home from. That magical place where life just seemed so simple and you never felt freer in your life. You crave it and start to ponder what it is you really want to pursue in life. Do I continue to live a nomadic life or join the crew of friends finding happiness in a more settled life?
The Acceptance Stage.
This stage along with the Depression stage can come in intertwining waves. I tend to ride this rollercoaster for a bit until I can figure out what my next plan of action is. The Acceptance stage is when you tell yourself that it is okay to feel a bit lost during your state of transition. You just returned home from this epic adventure and have absorbed so much information in the time you were away. It is healthy to give yourself permission to relax and use this time as a way to reflect back on the experience you had and dig into how it has shaped you mentally, spiritually, and physically.
The Oh Shit Stage.
After I’ve given myself about a month or so to go through the motions of the above stages, I tend to start the “Oh Shit” stage if I don’t see a clear path ahead. I personally thrive off having something to look forward to so when I don’t I can get into a bit of a funk. Having something to look forward to gives me an energy that I need to get through life’s rough patches. This stage represents the mental state of when we realize we need to kick ourselves into serious gear and make a move. This can come in the form of a new location or a new job.
The Discovery Stage.
In this stage, you start to get re-energized when you begin to find jobs or a location that interests you. Discovering that next step is invigorating and reaffirms your hope and trust of the process. The challenge here is that there are usually a few options that open themselves up to you and it is your responsibility to decide which one will bring you closer to what you want in this beautiful, crazy life.
The Execution Stage.
This is the scariest part. Choosing that job or place. Committing to the next adventure. Will it fulfill your desires and keep you on the track that you want to be on or is are you entering a completely new realm of life? My biggest advice: journal and meditate about your thoughts, fears, and dreams pertaining to your discovery. If you feel good about it and the door is wide open to you, just do it. You are never stuck anywhere or in any job, but it’s better to try than regret it later on. The beginning of a new chapter is always a bit scary no matter how many you’ve written in the past, but what I’ve learned over the years living this kind of life is that there are some of the most amazing places and people that are waiting to reveal themselves to you. And through these interactions, your life can be changed forever.