I have always thought that September is a transitional month. It acts as a buffer to get me ready for the colder weather to come.
Instead of an abrupt change, transitions allow us to ease gently into the next phase or activity. By learning how to use them and understanding their value, we can make changes in our lives much easier.
When my children were younger, it was important to give them ample warning before a change of activity. I called it the 10-minute rule. When it was time to do something different I would say, “OK everyone, you have 10 minutes until you have to get out of the pool … 10 minutes until bedtime … we are leaving in 10 minutes.” Try this, and watch your children stop fussing and whining when it is time to do something new. Giving them a chance to prepare for a change with a transition works like magic. It can alleviate some anxiety because they know what to expect ahead of time.
I recently retired from teaching after 40 years, and I am thankful that a retired neighbor warned me that I would experience a transition. He woke up every night for two weeks after he retired, wondering if he had done the right thing. Hearing his story helped me understand my feelings as the end of the school year approached. I was excited about the new adventure ahead of me, but each time I thought about leaving my students, I would start to cry. I needed time to leave behind something I was so used to doing and move on to start a new chapter. It helped to know my need for this transition was normal.
This time of year, many children are transitioning from high school to adulthood as they start college, trade school or new jobs. This period will teach them how to handle independence, while continuing to learn life skills that further prepare them for adulthood.
Transitions provide time for self-reflection, a chance to overcome fear and the possibility to learn how to deal with uncertainty. However, they can also cause stress and a range of emotions. The healthiest thing to do is be mindful of the changes in your life by expressing your fears and emotions, and always ask for help when you need it.
– Jennifer Bonn is a freelance writer in Kennesaw and a recently retired 40-year educator. Her book, “101 Tips to Lighten Your Burden,” was recently released and is available on Amazon.