I think autumn is a natural time of transitions. It marks the end of summer and reminds us that winter is just around the corner. It’s also back to school (and afterschool activities). Suddenly, the laid back feeling of summer is replaced by the overscheduled reality of fall. Just as the days start getting shorter, we seem to have more than ever to fit in each day.
Like most transitional periods, fall often starts off rather emotionally charged, chaotic, and full of confusion. For a time, there is a distinct feeling of being forced into reaction mode. Then, after a few tweaks and some final integration, some sort of calm and normalcy eventually emerges once again.
Although life is ever changing, I don’t think many of us really like transitional periods. I think we like the idea of change. After all, we do want to live happier, more content filled lives. Still, we tend to think of change as something extremely difficult.
Let’s face it, change is often uncomfortable. We feel out of control. We aren’t completely sure of the outcome. Yes, we have the best of intentions and perhaps even faith that life will once again become some new version of normal but there’s always that nagging worry that the chaos will continue. We might even find out we aren’t up to the task.
Unfortunately, the nature of transition is uncertainty. Change is about taking a risk and not being entirely sure that you’ll succeed or that you are even on the right path. That’s probably why it is such an amazing feeling when we do succeed and why it is so empowering when we do feel contentment even in the midst of chaos.
I think we’ve probably all experienced times when we tried to refuse to change. Perhaps, we held onto a situation or relationship long after it was healthy. Maybe, we refused to take an opportunity because we were afraid to fail (or succeed). We might have even ignored a health issue, hoping that it would work itself out.
In the end, change always seems to win out. Life has a funny way of pushing us in the right direction and then making things exceedingly uncomfortable until we finally take notice. Yes, we can choose to deny and even medicate that uncomfortable away but at some point there will be nothing more to lose and change will finally be the only way out.
It’s funny if you think about it. We get so very anxious about these transitional periods. Yet life is about change. From the day we are born, we are constantly learning about the world and reacting accordingly. At various stages of our lives, we essentially recreate everything in our lives from those we interact with on a daily basis and what we do each day to the responsibilities we shoulder and the social norms we must adhere to.
You’d think that with all the change that a person does in their lives that transition would be a process that would feel very natural. That we’d automatically say, “Oh, there’s going to be a period here where I just follow the flow until I catch my breath. Then, I’m going to do a few tweaks and alterations until this new thing becomes comfortable again.” Instead, we fight change, become impatient, and expect guarantees.