The Beauty of Transitions

Written by Charlie Martina

Over this past week, I have felt excitement bubbling in my stomach at the prospect of my life beginning to change. It is the thousandth time my world has dramatically shifted since the outbreak of Coronavirus and, as always, I am eternally grateful. 

The thing I love about transitions is how natural they feel. It’s the daffodil blooming in the spring, it’s the wave crashing on the shore, it’s the sky settling after a storm. Things are supposed to change; the world is in a constant state of flux. You could say that’s where its beauty lies.  

I admit, change isn’t always easy – and nobody really likes it. When we move from one thing to the next, we leave behind a breadcrumb trail of nostalgia and longing. But if we choose to focus on the butterflies in our stomach that tell us exciting opportunities are on the horizon, we might find joy in moving through life naturally.

It’s not just the stark difference that is difficult, though. It is the transition itself. The in-between stage – the stage where we are neither here nor there. The stage when you’re not sure how to respond when distant relatives ask you, “what are you up to right now?” I don’t know, Nan, it’s hard to explain.

Ultimately, no matter how difficult transitions are, they are a time of growth; a time when we sit down with a notebook and pen and think “right, what do I really want from life?”

Transitions can be small, like leaving your house in the morning, or big, like moving to a new country. Sometimes even the littlest transitions can be scary. They can feel lonely, unexpected, challenging, or daring.

Your old life and the things you did in the past made you who you are – they are an integral part of your journey and your story. However, it is important to remember that change is an opportunity for us to grow and exist fully. We shed our old skins and are reborn. It’s something worth celebrating.

This past year has been so turbulent for me. I’ve been up and down and round and round and come out the other end a totally different person. I have different values, norms, and goals; I have different hair and live in a different place; I have a different job and different routines.

Right now, my favorite song is “Best Friend” by Rex Orange County. My favorite book is The Secret History by Donna Tartt. My favorite things to talk about are sobriety and spirituality. The fun thing is, I know in a few months these answers will be totally different. I’ll be interested in new things; I’ll have new things to say. Life is full of change and growth, and that excites me greatly.

Sometimes, all this change is too much and we want to go back to how things were before. But we can’t. If we hold on to the past too aggressively, we’ll never appreciate the moment that we are in. Even if that moment is a bit “in-between” things.

When I feel overwhelmed by change, I take a moment to notice my surroundings. Being grounded helps me realize that things are constantly changing, we just don’t always notice it.  It’s the meanings we attach to changes that make them negative, rather than the changes themselves.

Take flowers, for instance. From blooming to perishing, their journey is inspiring and beautiful to watch. Use your senses to notice these transitions in nature, they can make transitions in our personal lives feel less daunting. And, of course, they remind us that we are alive.

Today I sat and looked out of the window where the sun peered from behind a cloud. People walked by, birds sang, a breeze lifted leaves through the air. The clouds began to move rapidly as the wind became harsher. I smiled as I watched the world transition.