We all experience many life transitions and every new transition requires us to adapt to something new. For many of us, change is not easy. Folks who depend on their established routine have the most difficulty embracing the unknown. Our success with all life transitions is determined by how we navigate our life changes and our rewards are dependent on how we embrace our new normal. Let’s review some of the most common life transitions that we all typically encounter during our lifetime, and the rewards of successfully navigating them.

Leaving our family nest in early adulthood leaves us initially feeling insecure and very frightened. After years of the security of predictable education settings and our family home, for the first time in our lives, the expectation is for us to secure a full-time job and earn to support ourselves. In addition to earning our own paycheque, we now have the obligation of working cohesively with others and learning all of the other necessary new job requirements. The most successful work newbies watch and listen to others who are already successful. They come to their new jobs with a positive attitude, a keenness to learn, and the desire to be mentored. Most of us will transition to and from more than one job throughout our careers, and we will come to understand that each new work transition that we successfully navigate and embrace, will reward us with enhanced skills, abilities, experiences, and valued lifelong friendships.

Many will say that finding our life partner is our most important life transition. Living common law and/or marriage forces us all to learn how to compromise and how to weave our two separate dreams and goals into one joint vision. We slowly begin to replace the words “I” with the words “we” when referring to our and life path goals. Our success in maintaining a long and healthy partnership is dependent on our ability to compromise, communicate, respect, and trust one another. Strong, lasting relationships are rewarded by providing us with a shared history, security, unconditional love, and a confidant and best friend who will always have our back.

Losing a loved one through death or divorce is often described as one of the toughest life transitions. The grief process is different for all of us and there is no set formula of how to cope when someone is no longer part of our physical world. The reality is that we all will need to learn how to survive and to continue to live on our own. Faith certainly plays a significant role in our ability to eventually accept our loss and the stronger our faith, the speedier our success with accepting our new circumstance. Perhaps our biggest reward of successfully navigating loss is that we learn how to live more in the present, how to move on from our past, and how to never take our future for granted.

Many would describe having a first child as a difficult life transition. Our free and self-centred world suddenly becomes consumed with the responsibility of caring for a newborn, around the clock. Our child is fully dependent on us and our knowledge and experience are often limited to having read only a book or instructional pamphlet. The required firsthand learning process will result in us making many errors, while actively participating in every stage of their growth and development. We will gradually start to gain more freedoms as our child advances through the development stages and we will also develop more confidence in our ability to parent. Our hearts will expand in ways that we never knew possible while watching our children develop into the people that they are meant to be, and we will be rewarded with the understanding that our family is and will always be our everything.

Retirement is a major life transition that some are hesitant to begin while others are excited to jump in. Most of us don’t think about or prepare for retirement until we actually commence that transition. We think that time is our new best friend and our reward is the newfound freedom of no longer setting our alarm clocks. The reality is that we still need to fill our additional time with meaningful work, hobbies, passions, socialization, and purpose. Those who thrive on structure and routine are more successful with embracing retirement when they schedule work, hobbies, activities, adventures, and socialization into their calendars ahead of time. For those more free-spirited, it is still essential to identify the work, activities, hobbies, adventures, and friends to include in daily plans, but allowing scheduling flexibility and last-minute planning will not hamper success as long as too much time is not left idle. When old routines and jobs are replaced with new volunteer and chosen paid work, enjoyable hobbies and activities, travel, adventure, new experiences, and the feeling of fulfilling our life purpose, the rewards are that everyday feels like a Saturday and we now are blessed to be living our most interesting and joyful life.

Submitted: November 13, 2022

© Copyright 2023 Denise Svajlenko. All rights reserved.

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