There are many transitions that occur throughout our lives. Some are expected, some come as surprises.
Most of us know that graduations and weddings are times of transition, for the participants and for their families. Births and deaths are part of everyone's life, yet some are more impactful than others. The first baby born to a family creates more of a transition than the next. The death of a beloved parent or grandparent impacts more than losing a distant uncle.
I've been personally aware of more people going through transitions during this last year than is usual. Changing economics has added stress to many and even those who are not concerned about their own situation are conscious of friends being affected. We all need to be aware that many of our friends and neighbors are unusually burdened with economic concerns.
We can listen when someone needs an ear and understand their feelings, some bordering on fear. We can acknowledge their strengths and encourage their efforts.
At any given moment there are people going through personal changes, perhaps a long-awaited rite of passage or a landmark birthday they would once have considered a mark of old age. Others face addictions and put down cigarettes or alcohol or drugs. Some examine marriages, careers, lifestyles.
A friend remarked recently how astonished she is to find so many others dealing with the same problems she is finally facing. I remember that discovery in my own life so many years ago. Since then I have known that whatever I go through, many others have, or are now, experiencing a similar challenge. Strangely enough, it gives comfort to know we are not unique, thus not alone. There are a thousand variations on any transition that we humans face and there is always someone who understands and who can and will help us if we are willing to allow them into our personal lives.
It is most encouraging to find out others lived through situations we think we'll never get through. Whatever we have overcome in our own lives eventually offers us an opportunity to become a living example to show that normalcy, even happiness, can return to any life.
One of my favorite awakenings decades ago is summed up by the expression, 'When the student is ready, the teacher appears.' Over and over again I've found it is true. The key to our teacher appearing is our willingness to face our own responsibility in any situation. We are the only ones we can change.
Jean Loxley-Barnard has been a writer all her life and studied both sociology and psychology at George Washington University where she earned a B.A. Her company, The Shopper, Inc., encompasses all the Loxley-Barnard family publications - The Shopper Magazines and Doctor to Doctor Magazine. She has been in the advertising, consulting and publishing business for 39 years.
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