October 26 , 2017 /


Every one of us goes through and, in fact, we are going through various life transitions, much of the time, one way or another. Living is organic & dynamic, seldom static or unchanging. What we see frequently are people not preparing for whatever might be next and there is one compelling reason. It is not knowing what might be next. However, it’s highly recommended to have a contingency plan. Then one day, if we wake up and wonder where we are and how we got there, at least there’s a plan in place that can be altered according to need. All of this in spite of my wife’s aphorism, “When we make plans, God laughs.”

The following categories are illustrations, stages of some life experiences where transitions can be useful bridges to the next stage of living; living to the fullest potential at any given time and in any condition where we might find ourselves. It may be possible to skip a stage and there is no set time for any particular one with two exceptions. Each one has a beginning and each one generally has an end. They do not occur at a definite point in time such as 5:20 AM on Wednesday, October 25, 2017. Many of these transitions, i.e. changes, are going on simultaneously or at least concurrently.

1 – Aging             Young > middle age > older > 65+ > 90+>

2 – Relationships   Parents > friends > partnered > single

3 – Work               First jobs > career ladder > retirement > last jobs

4 – Health             Active and fit > healthy > illness or disease > decline

5 – Time              Some time > little time > anytime > more time > endtime

6 – Learning        Informal > formal > continuous > independent > lifelong

7 – Family             Family of origin > nuclear family > extended family

8 – Creativity         Genius > scholar > researcher > technician > designer

9 – Living             Dependent > interdependent > independent > dependent

10 Dying             Recognition > resistance > farewell > acceptance

We have opportunities to make the most of these transitions, to use them to our benefit and for the benefit of others around us. We all know our lives are finite, that they will end some day, one way or another. Ask yourselves what you can do to learn from previous experiences how best to prepare for the next transition. These changes are, in most cases, inevitable. Therefore, a plan, even if it requires modifications, is so much better than no plan at all.

The expression, “flying by the seat of your pants” has its origins in the early days of aircraft that had no instruments and relied on the pilots’ skill and judgment. That is no longer possible in most cases although there are times, mostly in emergencies, when the pilot’s skill and judgment are greatly appreciated, especially when there is a good outcome. Go ahead, file your flight plan, read the weather, make sure your craft is in tip-top shape and take off for your next adventure.

If change is inevitable and universal, it is not a matter of whether or not we wish to change.  It is rather how we wish to design and implement change and how we respond to change that we do not control. Whether our concerns are about ourselves, someone else, an organization, a community, a country, or the world itself, nothing stands still if it’s alive.

Nothing grows or evolves or improves or adapts or adjusts without changing. Even if the change is simply altering an internal response to what is going on outside, the net result is some type of change. And that internal change may not be so small in the end. The more you can change your internal structures and behaviors the more you have opportunities to shape your life and the world where you live.


Comments (2)

  1. Having an awareness of our transitions can be both painful and powerful. It’s the letting go that most of us resist yet when we get to that next point life goes on. Interesting to think of contingency plans in the context of transition too. For some areas of life, it’s clear that financial planning helps, communication can be a part of contingency planning… for others, it’s less clear what those plans may be and we need to learn to embrace where we are instead of wishing we were somewhere else in our life.

    It’s interesting, a friend of mine who has no children expressed to me what it’s like to watch his friends send their children off to college. They begin to feel the pain of letting go as early as 7th and 8th grade in some cases and it creates an current in their time together. Many transitions are not easy but we all go through them. Why resist?

    Thanks for getting me thinking…


    1. Thanks! I like getting you to thinking and your responses, always thoughtful and insightful. Letting go is a key component in many life transitions. Contingency plans can often help whether with relationships, work, health and some others. And with work, my 5 stages of transitions in that dimension tried to address those in a previous blog. Interesting for me now also to watch, and listen to, others even as I am about to make a big transition on my own with upcoming uprooting and move. I will pen something about that soon, maybe as it’s in process, to be completed later. Watching and listening carefully helps us to learn ever more about what works and what doesn’t.

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