Accepting Transition

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{starting the family goodbyes}

For some reason, I just realized a week ago that me going off to college is called “TRANSITION.” I had yet to label it the big, bad “t-word” because in my mind, transition means moving across an ocean. I said to myself, “It’s just a few states away, no big deal.” Then I realized that I am packing up almost everything I own to move 765 miles away and start my life over. Again. And that is most definitely a transition. So I guess my point is, even if you’re moving a couple of towns over or starting a new school or even if you aren’t transitioning but people close to you are, it is still something you need to allow yourself to adjust to.

I’ve heard most, if not all, of the transition talks in the books and I can’t really think of a piece of advice from those talks that has made a huge difference in my life but one thing that has helped is giving myself time – time to say goodbye to people and places, time to think about what is going to be hard about the transition and what is going to be great, time to slow down and make a few memories before I embark on my journey to the next place or phase of life.

This time, my schedule has been so jam-packed that I have been feeling like I don’t have time to breathe. Between work and doctor appointments and dorm shopping and people who need me to drive them around, I have had to work hard to schedule any amount of free time that I’ve had in the last month.

I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to transition well if something didn’t change, so this last week before I leave I have stayed home. I have gone on bike rides to my favorite ponds, I have walked around the neighborhood I have come to know and love, I have sat on my favorite couch that has followed us to three houses over a period of ten years and I have hugged my family extra tight. I even asked my dad if he would read a Narnia book to me at night because I feel as vulnerable as a little child and I want to store up as much familiarity and security as I can before I enter a sort of desert for those feelings.

I’m not focusing on what I “should” do, I’m focusing on what feels right. If I want to postpone packing once again so I can curl up on the couch with my mom for an episode of Downton Abbey, then that’s what I do. If I want to linger a little longer over dinner in the backyard with my family, so be it. I can pack/organize/prepare all through the night if I have to, but my emotional and mental stability is extremely important if I want to survive this move.

This time, I’m not bringing all the people and things I’ve relied on during previous moves. It’s just me and the Lord. And I fully trust that if He leads me out onto the water, He will keep me from drowning. But I also know that I will be so homesick and so far out of my comfort zone that having these last precious times interacting with what I’ve come to know as “home” is going to help.

I don’t know if this approach is right for everyone, but I’m hoping that a few of you who also don’t really get how to apply all those transition talks will benefit from realizing that you can do it your own way. Do the things that you will regret not doing. Say goodbye well. And give yourself major buffers of time, even if it’s just to breathe.

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5 thoughts on “Accepting Transition

  1. Michaela, thank you for this! I think we’re feeling the same sorts of things! I’m also heading off to college… in a week (a week??!). I love the “It’s just me and the Lord” part. What a sweet way of saying that. Yes, we will become desperate, but that will also draw us nearer to Him, and that’s so comforting!

  2. This made me cry. I wish I had read this a year ago when I left for college on my own. Thank you for this. I agree with everything you said. Every time we moved I also focused on what felt right, not what I should do. My parents didn’t always agree with me wanting to spend so much time with friends in the last few weeks, making memories… So thank you for encouraging me on that 🙂

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