Do you have any advice for navigating difficult life transitions? I find myself struggling, much more than I would have expected, with some recent changes in my life. After a long, smooth, predictable phase, I feel jolted by a series of events, and unable to regain my footing. It’s possible that it is too many things at once—a perfect storm of family issues, career developments, and a minor physical injury I need to accommodate—but even so, I am surprised by the extent of my frustration and flailing. I usually pride myself on being capable, resilient and resourceful, but recently, with so much coming at me, I feel totally thrown. I keep reminding myself that change is always uncomfortable, that it takes time to adjust to new circumstances and that “this too shall pass,” but I can’t seem to find my rhythm. Instead, I have been short-tempered and irritable, snapping at everyone I love and unfairly annoyed at the world.
What do you suggest?
Lost in Transition
Dear Lost in Transition,
A few weeks ago, I added a puppy to my already Busy-with-a-Capital-B life. My kids had been pleading for years for a dog (don’t they all?), but I insisted we wait until I was ready. I had enough sense to know that despite all of their assurances of care and responsibility when it came down to it, puppy duty would be largely mine.
And so it is.
My meditation routine has been replaced by 5 am walks in the dewy grass. Both my coaching practice and my workouts—which sustain me— are essentially on hold, and I am totally sleep deprived. Most nights you can find me pajama-clad and bleary-eyed, patrolling the lawn by flashlight, wondering what unseen creatures lurk in the darkness or why no one ever told me how often puppies get sick to their stomach.
News of my puppy may seem off topic, but the truth is, your query helped crystalize my own sense of frustration. I have been pretty testy and irritable myself, lately, feeling haggard and housebound and, now that I think about it, a little lost in transition, as well.
Whether it’s a new puppy or a new baby, whether it’s a graduation, retirement, promotion, break up, illness, marriage or big move, every life is peppered with transitions. They can be terrifying or thrilling, draining or invigorating.