I'm OK, You're Not; A Journey in personal Discovery
Author: James Tippett

Chapter 6
Transitions

Exerpt...

   Chapter Six – Transitions

 

   We all go through transitions, both good and bad. Good transitions lift our spirits and we are assured that the light at the end of the tunnel1 is near. There is, unfortunately, always another tunnel, how we prepare ourselves for the next tunnel is paramount to the time it takes to pass through it. The key understanding here is that there will be a tunnel; the preparation is in identifying the tracks that lead to these tunnels and trying to make sure we are on the right one. The tracks that lead to the longest, darkest tunnels are often laid by others; we simply did not realize the signals and continued down their track.

   OK enough with the metaphors, but I think you get the point. We can experience self imposed transitions or those imposed by others. Self imposed transitions are those where your focus and conscious thought, mixed in with a dose of subconscious neural contemplation, produce a transition in your life that is intended to improve things. Beware however, that you or your loved ones may experience some unintended consequences.

   The tunnel, and the length of it, is how you reacted or the actions you took in response to the stimuli or situation, as we discussed in Chapter Four, it is uniquely you. You had your reasons, some may have been thought out more than others, but they were yours, and you learned. The intent again is to get you to write your own transition guide based on your unique circumstances.  

 

   Transitions imposed by others, forced transitions, are usually identified when you first mutter, “What in the Heck?” You first need to realize you have been led into a tunnel and that the transition you are going through is directly related to someone or thing else in your world. Often times this is a subtle occurrence, we may have been influenced by someone else’s expectations, or our perception of someone else’s expectations, and this could include society in general. Regardless the source of the transition, you need to deal with it and take some sort of action, execute a plan, not just be pushed through by inertia. 

      Now it is time to bring out your journal again. Jot down some of the transitions you have gone through. If you are with someone who went through the transition with you, ask them to help you jot.  Think of a time when you made a decision that led to a positive transition in your life. You changed jobs, choose a school or course to take, decided to nurture or end a relationship, whatever it is write it down.

  Now try to think about all the factors that went into the decision. What brought about the transition? Was it a self directed transition or was it imposed by someone else. List other factors that influenced your decision; better pay, better recognition, more compatible mate, brighter future, following your dreams and visions, etc. What were the high (good) points during the transition? How are you stronger, more OK, today than you were before the transition? By the time you get done you will have a relatively clear picture of why you made the decision and will be reassured that it was the right one.

 

  Now that you have experimented with the easier positive transitions, reflect on the negative transitions and apply the same mindset. You will find that a transition that appears negative on the surface or to someone else, made perfect sense given your understanding at the time, and indeed may be the same decision you would make if you were given the opportunity to make the decision again, under the same circumstances with the same external influences in place at that time. If the transition was negative, you most likely will not have to look too far to find the person who directed you into the tunnel.

   You should also note that transitions that appear negative at first may actually be positives in wolves clothing. Transitions, or changes in your life, are normally never easy. At times they may have seemed quite difficult, but that does not immediately classify them as negative, even if the drive for the transition was scripted by others. Always remember, nothing lasts forever, if you want something that does, buy yourself a brick.

   Now that you have taken this time to reflect on the past, it will be much easier to identify and plan for those transitional tunnels around the next bend, no matter the source. Use your journal to brain storm what track will best lead you to the most positive outcome. The more you know about your next tunnel, the track through it and who and what it will affect, the better. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. This is still about I’m OK, You’re Not, but you still need to watch your wake around those you care for.

 

Death and Dying

     One of the most significant transitions is death. If it is us, not much matters any more, well at least that we can quantify. We are all going to die, as cold as that sounds that is the truth. Our loved ones, friends, co-workers and pets are all going to die, some before us and some after us. While we are all usually deeply saddened by these events, realize that the more sadness we feel, the greater the person (or pet) was, meaning there is more about their life to celebrate than to grieve over. Work to remember that aspect, and know that they would want to know that you’re celebrating your memories of them, rather than unraveling into emotional goo.

   Let’s take this one step further, lets say you are not particularly troubled by someone’s passing. Does that bother you? Why? By now you should realize that your concern over your lack of grief is more about your concern over what others will think of you. You have your reasons for your certain level of grief; many of us didn’t shed a tear when our fathers or mothers died due to some painful memory of their behavior or actions during our childhood or adulthood. You’re OK, those who think you should be a slobbering idiot, are not.

   Take a moment here to reflect on your current life journey. What will your obituary say? Who will show up for your funeral? What legacy will you have left? Conversely, imagine someone close to you dying. What would say or do differently now? While some may think this is morbid, it is an excellent way to get past minor annoyances. 

  There are numerous other transitions that we face in our lives, marriage, divorce, puberty, graduating from school, changing jobs, the beginning of new friendships and the ending of those that should. Similar mindsets can be applied to all, regardless of which side of the event you are on. 

Marriage and Divorce

   Perhaps the second top hit on the transitions chart is marriage and divorce. Not that one is directly associated with the other but there is some correlation. Obviously you can’t or don’t need to get a divorce if you are not married. Just because you get married, do not assume you are going to divorce, no matter what the media and social statistics2 lead you to believe. For if you listen to them, divorce is OK, just another event, everyone does it, no big deal except for the psychologists and divorce attorneys who reap big rewards on this societal trend. Having never been divorced, but very close on occasion and knowing too many people that are divorced; I can offer at least a glimpse for the purpose here.

   As was mentioned in Chapter One, if you are about to get married you need to ask why? If it is because you are mutual soul mates, then proceed. If, on the other hand when searching your thought banks, phrases like, “This will really show Mom and Dad”, “My friends will really be impressed”, or “Finally, I can get out of my house and away from my parents”, you need to stop and re-evaluate what you are doing. In some respects marriage has lost its sanctity and become a matter of convenience or social expectation, leading to the upward trending statistics.     

 

  If you are about to get divorced, hopefully you have already asked if there is anyway to avoid it, marriage is work, and when great sexual partners leave their socks on the couch,  dishes in the sink, or dirty books under the bed,  there could be issues with which you will both need to cope. Ask yourself if you are living the We’re OK, They’re Not concept.

Going to Jail

 While I referenced this in Chapter One, I really have no direct experience other than to sit in a cell for about 20 minutes. That was actually enough to make me think twice about doing something that would land me there, or at least being well thought out, or perceptive enough not to get caught. If you are headed to jail, I wish you well. While in there you need to memorize this book.

   While you are the one who is responsible for the action at the time of the crime, it was a result of the influences built by others. This is not meant as enough of a defense to keep you from going to the slammer. You are still responsible. You do however need to evaluate why, what and who for, influences that led you into this tunnel so that once you get out you can change tracks.

 Hormonal Transitions

Well I guess I am as qualified as anyone on the subject since I went through the three primary ones I can think of. Each individual, male and female, all go through the wild wonderful pubis exploratus (puberty), some sort of transition that we all blame on the mystical mid-life crisis, and some sort of menopause.

 

Yes I believe men go through a sort of menopause also; just no one has come up with a name for it yet, to my knowledge.

   As I recall, there were a lot of strange feelings and zits during puberty. Hormones are wonderful things and perhaps the most misunderstood in youth. If you are going through puberty, mid life, or menopause, you need to realize it is a phase. Do the best you can to keep your emotions in check, get a hobby, write a book, and go ahead and buy that damn motor cycle or get that tattoo if you want, anything that lets you escape, (except drugs above moderation) when things get tough. The key is to leave as small an emotional wake as possible on those near and dear to you. This transition will end at some point and you need to have someone to hang out with when it’s over.

Leaving the nest

   Finally, I can view this transition from both sides of the equation. My eldest recently headed to college out of state. Spreading his wings, taking the big leap and the bittersweet truth is I don’t think he is coming back, not because he hates his parents, I hope, but because he is ready to take on the world. Thoughts abound about all the good times, the bad times and the things you feel you should or shouldn’t have said or done. 

   Pouring over the pictures that spanned 18 years now seem like 18 minutes in reflection.  I now know what my parents must have felt like even though my feelings on the quality of the relationship were not as strong, but given the generation I suppose close to the same from their viewpoint.

 

 

  If you or someone you love is ready to leave the nest, this is a good thing, celebrate it. We all need to take responsibility for our own life, pursue our dreams, not the dreams someone else has for us. Note that this goes for the one who is leaving and the ones who are staying behind.

  If you are the one who is leaving, you are most likely confident, and excited at what tomorrow holds, thrilled with your freedom and brimming with anticipation. If you happen to have been kicked out, you are probably filling your pants. Either way, you need to boldly venture out, not wallow in the surf, waiting for the tide, or the government, to decide your future. Make a plan, expect the unexpected, take control of your future. Now is your time to do all the things that you complained you couldn’t do while at home.

    The worst thing you can do however is nothing. No one is there to watch over you, nag you about what you should or should not do, or bail you out; the word of the day is responsibility. You can do it, you’re OK, and they are not.  Unfortunately, some of life’s games must be learned and played whether you like it or not. The faster you learn the game, the faster you get what you want. Go get ‘em. Just remember you are not in Kansas anymore Toto3.

   If you are the one staying behind, regardless of your role in the relation, you need to take time to reflect on the good times. If the relationship was strained this could be more difficult. I know that once my older son left, the issues I may have had at times seemed, no were, rather minor.

 

 

 

   My younger son is the beneficiary, as the little aggravating stuff doesn’t matter much anymore, because I know he too will be leaving soon. This will perhaps be an even harder transition as I now know what is coming, hoping I can somehow fill the gaps I feel were left with my older son. Even though you need to be attentive to the ones who are still in your space, you also need to continue reaching out to the one who left without trying to lead their life. Nor can you let them lead yours. The fun just keeps getting better.

  Changing Jobs or Careers

   Depending on the point in your working career, changing jobs is a major life event. It becomes more so if you are changing from the comfort of a known career or profession and even more if you decide to launch your own business venture. Transitioning from blue collar to white collar, or visa-versa, is another that comes to mind.

  You need to be very clear on your reasoning for making the change unless you were laid off, fired, or no longer physically capable of doing the job.  If this is a major area for you jump to Chapter Nine.  The same general rules apply. Once you have thought it through, truth and consequences style, go for it, be confident, don’t look back, and knock ‘em dead.

   If the venture is what you decided to do after thinking it through, you can not look back. Nor can you worry about what anyone else thinks about it. You do not need to make excuses or stories to make something sound more acceptable in some one else’s eyes.

  

 

   So how is that journal coming? What are your own personal transitions? Please make sure you take the time to start reflecting on the transitions that have occurred in your life. As you should have done at the start of the chapter, describe the transition, then examine why the transition occurred in who, what, why, where and how fashion. Finally look at your current position after the transition, what have you learned, is the transition all you expected it to be, is it better or is it worse? If it is worse how you can make it better?

   The more important question in this case is why is it worse? If it is worse chances are that you made the transition to satisfy someone else, not you. You were either running from someone, or trying to please someone else’s expectations or demands.  If you do find this to be the case, this is a perfect opportunity to turn things around. As the wise saying goes, “What does not kill us makes us stronger”, if we let it.

  Again repeat after me five time’s, “I’m OK, You’re Not”, “I’m OK, You’re Not”, “I’m OK, You’re Not”, “I’m OK, You’re Not”, “I’m OK, You’re Not”!



cont....


 

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