Believe it or not, I have a hard time with transitions. As adventurous as I am and as willing as I am to try new things I struggle with the aftermath of the decisions made leading to a change in my life. This actually has come to a surprise to me as I have stumbled upon this realization recently. I like it when I buy into the illusion that life is in a place steady place of sameness and of unchanging routine. I like knowing what to expect and what is going to happen next. I like the feeling of ease and comfort a steady life with (seemingly) little change brings. But the older get and the more experience I have under my belt I wonder if I am not fooling myself. After all, just because I cannot see the transition of every day life doesn't mean it's not happening. Kids don't magically age another year without first living the 364 days prior slowly making subtle changes each and every day until finally you look at your beloved on his/her birthday and think, "Man, so-and-so has changed so much this past year". The same could be said of our own lives. We don't just turn another year older after having experienced no change what-so-ever in our lives. No, we look back and think, "Man, that year flew by. Look at all that happened." or something similar to that.
Often we are only looking for the big changes in our lives when we think of being in transition: a move to a new house or a new state, a new job, quitting a job to stay home with kids, a death in the family, a divorce, a new baby, a marriage. With these changes we know that a transition is coming and we brace ourselves for that change either with open arms or with clenched fists. But how do we handle these little changes that occur daily that we don't even recognize? Children grow, we lose weight, we gain weight, we lose touch with friends, we make new friends, we grow closer to a spouse, we grow apart from a spouse, we get out of debt, we go into debt, we accomplish our dreams, we change dreams because they are no longer what we truly desire. All of these things don't usually happen over night. They are slow burners until one day we look and we notice that our lives are now different for some reason and we didn't even recognize the changes as they were happening.
With all of the changes going on in our life right now: adjusting to a another move in a new state, me going back to work part time, the kids learning to adapt to a new city with new friends, a new job for Bobby I will not lie and say that I am not struggling a bit. It seems like our family's life right now is one big huge major transition. All the moving parts are hard to balance and feel overwhelming sometimes.
But when I stop and really think about it I take comfort in the fact that most of the time when I am not facing big transitions it doesn't mean my life is not changing because it is still changing - just more subtly. If I can make it through those times without even really knowing that a change is going on then surely I can make it through an obvious time of transition. I just have to focus on one day at a time. Small transitions are daily living where I am not focusing on the long term or 25 things at one time. It is me just focusing on the needs of my family for that one day. It is making meals with the kids. Or doing school work with them. Or carting a kid here or there. Or reading a good book to them. It is answering questions. Or playing games with them. Or doing housework or laundry. Or planning our next weekend adventure. It is doing all of the things that make up a life.
The small transitions that take place in my life everyday do not include thoughts like:
"What are the kids going to do with me working?"
"How is this going to affect them?"
"Will they be okay?"
"Will my employer schedule me for more than the hours that I asked them to?"
"How am I going to do all that I do right now PLUS work 10-20 hours per week on top of that?"
"How am I going to make it through an entire winter and spring with this dreary weather when I am already ready to lose my mind and we have only had 3 weeks of gray skies?!"
"Will I ever love living in Portland?"
"Why don't I love living in Portland - everyone else does?"
"Will I ever find my tribe here among these people in a town that celebrates flaunting material wealth - something I despise?"
"Will all of my children adjust to this life?"
"How long are we are we going to be here for?"
"When will I be able to go back to Las Cruces?"
"Why do I love Las Cruces so much?"
"Why does it hurt my heart a little bit every time I see a picture of Las Cruces?
"When am I ever going to "get over" Las Cruces?"
And on and on the questions go...
Because I am so focused on all of these big transition thoughts my life feels overwhelming to me. When I get really overwhelmed and am forced to stop and just sit for a second to gather my thoughts and catch my breath I remember something that is instrumental in my life and it is this: Life is just a matter of perspective. It really, really is. What I see and think is what my life becomes. If I see an overwhelmed life with tons of big transitions happening then my life will become overwhelming. If I focus on the big issues instead of the day to day issues then my life will become full of big issues instead of day to day ones. (Which for me is a huge problem because I am a firm believer in the saying that how I spend my moments is how I spend my life.)
I am also a firm believer that everything in my life happens for a reason. Each chapter of my life is building a story that will be needed in the chapters that follow the one I am currently living in. I try to remember this frequently because there is a reason for all of these big transitions in my life. And even though I don't know those reasons right now I know they will be presented to me at the right time. My job is to just focus on the important day to day stuff full of children growing and learning, trips taken and memories made because in the months of December, May, and August when my children each turn another year older I will look back at that preceding year and be amazed at how different our lives are. And those differences were made in a million small transitions that happened quietly and subtly day in and day out.