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Throughout our lives we experience numerous transitions. Some are personal and private, others worldwide. Developmentally we move from childhood to the physical, mental and social life of an adult. As adults we make our way into old age and all that it entails.

A new invention leads to changes in the very fabric of society. Some are more affected than others. Telephones, TV, and computers led to enormous changes. Evolutions may leave a number of groups behind as they produce new jobs while eliminating old ones.  

One thing we know, transitions require adjustments, which often means a period of confusion and discomfort.  

We move from the familiar to unknown territory. The more resilient make the necessary changes more easily. Others may be traumatized and as a result become stuck. Those who fair best shift their attention to, “solution,” rather than staying with, “problem.” If they think, “opportunity,” they are even more likely to think creatively in coping with the new situation. In other words, our mind set can make all the difference.  

Changes, even positive ones, involve loss, which, in turn, may include a period of grieving. Acknowledging this and allowing oneself to accept the experience enhances our ability to move on. The family that moves into their dream home may be surprised when they learn that it isn’t perfect and doesn’t solve all their problems and, in fact, find there is much they miss from the old place.  

The ones who lose their home to foreclosure may, on the other hand, discover a sense of relief as they realize they have rid themselves of an enormous financial burden and consequently moved into a neighborhood they actually love. We can expect the unexpected.  

Some adjustments demand immediacy while others can be dealt with more gradually.  Gathering relevant and accurate information and resources leads to deeper understanding of what we face and how to make the switch.  

It has been said that the only constant is change. Transitions are here to stay. We’ve had them before and will have them again — many of them.  

Knowing this and accepting it somehow makes it more tolerable and less likely to be perceived as all bad. Some good often comes out of even the worst.  

During crises such as war or the current pandemic we see acts of heroism and comradery.    We can discover strengths we never knew we possessed, characteristics in people around us we never noticed or appreciated.   

This is not to say that we shouldn’t do all we can to avoid the bad stuff, but when it happens, experience tells us we will adjust and come out of it.  Transitions are a time for both memory and anticipation, for sadness and excitement — it is a time to look back as well as forward and a time to plan.

We can consider the past with the gift of memory, decide what we treasure the most and want to carry into the future. We have the ability to positively change as we move into a new phase.

Transition can make you or break you — but you will have to be the one to decide which one it will be. Your mind set can make all the difference.  

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