Our lives are full of transitions. These are changes that occur as we move month to month through our lives. Some of the changes are amazing and positive like starting school, graduating from school, getting married, having children, getting a job. Other changes are hard and negative like losing a job, breaking up a relationship, getting fired or losing a job. Then there are the nearly devastating changes that can occur. Losing a loved one to death, substance addiction, a diagnosis of a life-threatening disease, financial bankruptcy. The Coronavirus Pandemic has been a huge transition for the entire world.
These transitions evoke fear, sadness, self loathing, anxiety and shame. Yet in every life transition some people never overcome them and live the remainder of their lives in blame, depression, and perceived failure. Others come through dramatic changes and turn their lives into a statement of success and renewal.
What is the difference in the two outcomes for two different people? Both go through the same traumatic experience. Both feel the same emotions. Both feel as if they are the only ones to ever have experienced this event. The difference is that the ones that end up learning and re-tooling and thriving, later on, take on a different perspective. These individuals decide to reflect on their problem, forgive themselves, and take one positive step forward at a time, even when they don’t feel like it.
Many times those that eventually overcome the devastation find that the transition turns out to be a revelation of what a better life can be. They develop a new skill, or find a better job, or enter a new and exciting relationship. They learn to feel more confident but also realize that they can’t control things but can only respond to things. A greater sense of self-worth is developed and the ability to handle tough situations is enhanced.
Take our health. Why is that many people wait until a health crisis occurs to attempt to get healthy. The smoker stops smoking the minute they receive a lung cancer diagnosis. The patient begins to exercise after having a stent placed in their heart arteries to prevent a heart attack. A person decides to get serious about weight loss after the surgeon says their worn out knees need replaced but cannot be done until 50 pounds are lost.
We often wait until it is nearly too late before we take action. Life’s events will happen. We will get older. We will make mistakes and hopefully learn from them. But now, before an event occurs is the time to assess one’s life and decide to create a transition rather than wait for the transition-requiring event.
We didn’t see 9/11 coming. We didn’t see the housing bubble pop coming. We didn’t see COVID 19 coming. Those we couldn’t control, but we have or will have to learn to transition to a new and (if we work at it) better life ahead. As for our health transitions, those are in our hands. If we can avoid being blind or oblivious to what’s happening to our body, we can take control and charge of an amazing transition to a very healthy, fit, and wonderful life.
We can live in a body that can handle the next unforseen event and help us to transition in a positive and life-enhancing way the next time a curve ball is thrown at us. One of the secrets for a successful and happy life isn’t in avoiding problems and crises. The growth comes from encountering the problem head on and becoming a better person in spite of the negative event. Our ability to forgive our past and put it in proper perspective allows us to drive forward with our eyes on the spectacular view out the windshield with only an occasional glance in the rearview mirror as a reminder of where we’ve been.
Our future is as bright as we make it. As long as we have breath and our mental faculties, we are limitless in our potential. We are destined for greatness, and we are transitioning to a life well lived.