On Change, Transition and Growing Up: a plea

By: Kate Wallin

Transitions have a way of hitting you over the head. There’s the Mom-I’m-going-college transition, big but long expected. There’s the Mom-I-met-someone transition, probably less expected but certainly just as big. And scattered in between are graduations, new friends and new communities, stamps in the passport, internships and interviews, those long awaited Mom-I-got-the-job phone calls.

Maybe I’m late to get on the wagon, but it feels like everyone around me is going through some sort of transition right now. Things are changing. The freshmen on my floor are still getting their feet under them, used to the late nights, loose responsibility and the little sleep of a college kid. Upperclassmen are settling into a new year in their new skin. Campus has an undeniable newness to it. The trees are changing color. The nights are colder. Mumford is releasing a new album while Bon Iver is breaking up. Heck, even the cast of SNL is different (Andy Samburg who?).

I thought I’d grown accustomed to culture shock after spending the last year abroad but maybe its like I’ve heard: there is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered. So in the middle of these transitions, I submit to you a plea. A plea for grace, for health and (maybe most of all) for fun.

Keep the Door Open

In this last season of my life, I have found the hardest thing to is to let myself be new. To let myself live into the changes of the season, of the place, of the person I have become. It’s wrapped up in that word “become”. Since middle school I’ve held this belief that someday I’ll become “it.” I will have finally arrived. But life doesn’t happen like that. As Donald Miller says, “These things never happen when you are looking for them to happen. Life will reveal answers at the pace life wishes to do so. You feel like running, but life is on a stroll.” Life is on a stroll and I need to learn to walk with her. To keep the door open to who and what I may become. So I bid you the same thing I asked of myself this morning, “Let yourself be new.” It’s the door to a miraculous world governed by grace.

Be Human

And humans need a few standard things. To sleep, to eat and to be really ridiculously messy. All are good things. All are okay. Sometimes closing the door, setting a bedtime and asking for that extension can be the healthiest, most grown-up choices you can make. Don’t overlook your Zzzs. Or your leafy greens for that matter. Did you know that some of the most effective ways to treat the life-in-transition blues are simple things like eating well and exercising? Give yourself permission to take care of your body. And be a little messy while you’re at it. Being vulnerable with someone is a healthy way to share the burden and lighten the load. You don’t have to have it all together.

Play

What is play? Play is creativity. Play is make-believe. Play lightens the soul. Play entertains and engages the senses. Play is freedom. Play allows you to push the boundaries of your own reality. And play, by definition, bends the rules. In the middle of the transitioning into a new place or your new skin, it’s easy to forgo the fun. Instead, create something for yourself – a space, a song, an afternoon – and do exactly what you want within it. Plan a celebration. Invite the new kids. Dance to the old songs. Find something that challenges and bends your ideas about who you are and what you can do.

Oh, and call your mom. Don’t save those phone calls just for the big stuff.

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