Sometimes, it helps to remember that no one, young or old, likes change. You are not alone if it is your worst nightmare. The thing is you CAN beat transition, and its affect on you.
This story begins when I was a 7-year-old. It was the end of my first day, mid-term, at a new school in inner-city Melbourne . . .
Looking out the tram window, I panicked. Oh no!
That was where I should have got off!
Quickly, I pulled the cord, high above my head, but it was too late. It sailed onwards – the tram would wait for no man, or even a little girl. My heart was in my mouth as we travelled slowly up the busy road in the after-school crush.
My mother had shown me what to do when we caught the tram to my new school that morning. But she hadn’t given me any idea about what to do if something went wrong. It had been an exciting start to my first day. Imagine riding a tram to school! But the trip home seemed to be turning into a disaster.
What to do? What to do?
Knowing I couldn’t get off until the next stop, I waited, but it seemed to take forever. And each second took me further away from one tiny pocket of familiar streets.
The tram went on, trundling past the glassy-doored cinema on the right; past the end of that other busy street on the left. I didn’t even know it’s name yet! The tram kept on going all the way up the hill, to the next set of traffic lights. I was in shock.
Finally, the tram stopped
Feeling quite sick, I grabbed my things, jumped off, and bolted.
I ran as fast as my seven-year-old legs would carry me. Down the hill, carefully over that busy T-intersection.
Oh. I could see the name now. “BURWOOD RD” the street sign read. Scooting past cinema-across-the-road with its big glass doors. Finally I got back to the pedestrian crossing, where I should have got off.
I paused, waiting for the traffic to stop, itching to cross over. Waiting, waiting,waiting.
Finally, someone stopped. Close to tears, I ran for all I was worth. I took the corner into the side street, away from the tram line, and the cars, and the noise, and kept running. All the way to our new, still unfamiliar, little dead end street.
And Home . . .
Bursting into tears, I galloped inside, to find my parents were patiently unpacking boxes. Dad must’ve had a few days off work to help with our big move.
“I got lost!” I blurted out.
It was like they didn’t even hear me.
“Hello, Darling, how was your day?”
Could they not see I was upset?
“I missed the stop and got off the tram way up the hill, and I ran all the way home!” More blurting.
I couldn’t believe they were so calm!
“Well, everything’s alright now, Dear. Would you like some afternoon tea?”
I swallowed my panic, shook off my tears, and pulled myself together.
“Yes, please,” was all I could manage. What an anti-climax.
“I got lost!”
All this happened after a long first day at my new school. Complete with an aging teacher, in place of the young, pretty one I’d loved, and left, the week before. Two new friends, girls who were “assigned” to me, but they didn’t think to play with me at recess. Outside in the playground, I explored on my own, finding strange and unfamiliar equipment.
It was such a relief to be home, but such a blow to my pride that I had mucked up, and such an indignity to my, well, to my everything!
Clearly, my parents wondered what all the fuss was about. There I was, home safe and sound. To them it was a successful outcome. But to me, in my heart-fast-beating, adrenalin-rushing state, it was something it took a while to recover from.
They didn’t know how to beat transition. Words such as, “You are not alone” could have been very powerful, when all you feel is out of sorts, in unfamiliar territory, and lost. It might even have become a special moment to treasure. But all that memory does is remind me of a bad start to my new school.
Have you ever had to beat transition?
Whether starting at a new school (maybe mid-term, like I did in Grade Two), beginning a new job, or turning up at a new gym, transitions are rarely easy to navigate. It doesn’t matter if you are seven, 17 or 70, moving into new and unknown territory is uncomfortable at best, and downright terrifying at worst.
Any time of year, people are adjusting to new things and need to know how to beat transition. Students start at new schools mid-term. Other people begin new jobs. Brand-new mothers have to manage a baby for the first time. Relief teachers take on unknown classes. And surprised widows and widowers must come to grips with life alone. Overwhelmed refugees arrive in their new home country. All of them seek to beat transition.
Even in the natural world, transition is the normal course of things. Caterpillars go through an amazing transition as they spend time in a chrysalis, only to emerge days later, as a butterfly. But even that last part, the emerging, takes hours, and doesn’t look pretty, even though the final result is often stunning.
So, transition is everywhere.
6 Ways Beat Transition
This is the “new normal”. Believe it or not, one day this will be your usual routine, so this feeling will not last forever. Like a butterfly emerging, it’s a temporary discomfort. The thing is to push through the uncomfortable-ness to get to the good bit. At the end. When things start to feel normal again.
2. Prepare as best as you can
My mother did what she could in preparation for that tram ride home, and it was enough, because I find my way. So while she tried to prepare me, she couldn’t possibly cover every contingency. And you know what? I learned not to miss the tram stop after that.
3. Be aware of others who are trying to beat transition
Kindness goes a long way for people in new situations. It’s a good thing to give new people a break, be friendly, smile, show them the ropes. You would be grateful if someone did that for you. Tell them, “This is just a transition. You are not alone!” Make it a moment for a good memory.
4. Forgive yourself if you struggle
It’s normal to feel extreme emotions. Also, nervousness can lead to headaches, nausea, weariness, sleeplessness, lack of appetite and more. Be understanding of yourself, your partner and your children. These things will pass. You will beat transition.
5. Learn from this experience!
Because of my mid-term move of schools in Grade Two, I decided my children would never move schools mid-term. In the end, they moved schools rarely, and only ever in-between school years.
So, you learn too. What can you take away from your transition to help next time, or next-gen?
6. Pray for God to help you out
It’s helpful to remember this as you beat transition. You are not alone! What a relief to understand that Jesus is the same – yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) He will be your rock when you feel unstable; your friend when you feel lonely; and your peace in the turmoil. Let him love you through it. Stop. Breathe. Pray. You are enough.
You are not alone.
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Do you have a memory of a good, or bad, change? How did you beat transition?
Let’s hear about it in the Comments, below >>>