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Perpetual Transition

“Rule number one:  You find yourself coming back in new ways to old activities when you’re in transition.”   —  William Bridges

From September, 2004 until May, 2010 I was a LOSTIE.  This means I was an avid fan of the TV series LOST.  Part of the show’s allure was the constant unknown, the ever present question, ‘so what does THAT mean?’  Millions of people gathered on the blogosphere every week to attempt an interpretation of the week’s episode.  The final episode did nothing to answer the questions.  Sure, we felt some of the characters had resolved their issues, but it wasn’t neat and tidy as some series finales.

As we discussed the first chapter in William Bridges’ book, Transitions, I felt certain this was the basis for the entire LOST series. Bridges talks about a fallow time between an ending and a new beginning, a time of ‘lostness’ and emptiness before life resumes.  The LOST characters were all working through their issues, doing the things they needed to do before moving on – relying on each other to do so.  It seems no coincidence that the average LOST viewer was between the ages of 18 and 49 – the time period many developmental psychologists will say is wrought with perpetual transitions.  How many of us could not relate to the situation of one character or another in their ‘lostness’ between an ending and beginning?  There were definitely ‘dashers’ and ‘lingerers’ portrayed throughout. Alas, no mention of Bridges turns up in the LOST Google searches.

I am a lingerer.  In my personal life, this is because I just plain enjoy being with people.  There are very few people in my life that I have chosen to ‘dash’ away from.  I stay late at parties, I even stay after yoga class – it takes forever to say goodbye. This type of lingering, however, isn’t part of a life transition.

In my professional life I linger because I enjoy the comfort and security a current job brings, even when I know it no longer provides the joy, satisfaction, personal and professional growth it once did. I keep ‘coming back in new ways to old activities.’  I’ve been here before – lost between the enjoyment I once felt both in doing the work and with the people with whom I work and the knowing in my heart that there is something else out there yet – a new professional adventure. Perhaps it is time to adhere to Bridges’ Rule number two – letting go outwardly and inwardly where we keep the connections that act as the definitions of who we are.  As he says, redefining self is personal, it is frightening, it is transition.

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