- The Life of JLOWE
- How to think about a transitionary period in life
How to think about a transitionary period in life
After graduating, I’ve been spending time regrouping, moving in and settling down before starting work and it’s felt like this “in-between” period of my life in which I’m transitioning from being a student to working a full time job.
And while it’s true that these months are technically sandwiched between the end of one huge chapter of my life and the start of another, I’ve found some peace in embracing the change as less of a “transitionary period” and more of an important period just the same.
In an earlier blog post, I talked about how the time that I spend right now is important for me to achieve stability. While that’s true, I feel like over the past few weeks, an anticipatory feeling has overwhelmed me that’s made me feel excited and anxious about starting my new job in July. And it’s made me think a lot about the time that I have now and not only how I spend it, but how I think about it.
What do I mean by that?
A new perspective on transitionary periods
For me, perspective is everything, and the time right now is less a transitionary period, but more a period of time in which I’m able to settle down yes, but also able to explore new things and learn new things and experience life in a way that I might not get to experience it in in a few years. So as I said, the perspective that I’ve taken more recently is less of it being a transitionary period, but more of period of life that I can appreciate and not just gloss over as the time between ending college and starting a job. For me, that manifests in realizing that every moment in life matters, and that life is happening now.
Simple, right? Like duh, obviously life is happening now.
But at the same time, being in a period of life where you feel like things are transitioning, it’s easy to feel like you’re awaiting something new and just trying to pass the time before something else happens. For me, that mindset is dangerous because it devalues the time that you spend today in anticipation for time that you’ll spend tomorrow.
Shifting my perspective
Last year, I had a whirlwind of experiences throughout the year that came back to back and didn’t leave much room for breathing and mindfulness. I spent January in Jamaica, then I spent February to May in Ithaca, then June to August in New York City, then the last weeks of August in Jamaica and then August to December in Sevilla, Spain. I went from living in Jamaica to being a student at Cornell to interning at JPMorgan Chase & Co. over the summer to studying abroad for a semester in Spain all in the same year. From my 2022, what I realized is that you really do need to appreciate the fact that life is happening now.
Ithaca to New York to Spain
While I was doing my Junior Spring semester at Cornell, all I could think about was moving to New York to start my internship. It engulfed my headspace – I needed to find housing, make friends, do all the onboarding tasks and get mentally prepared to be at a huge firm and experience something brand new in terms of career experience. I was so excited that my time at Cornell in the Spring felt like an anticipatory period for what would come next in New York.
Then, when I was interning in New York, by July, all I could think about was going to Spain for the rest of the year. It again, engulfed my headspace. I was having meetings with the program directors throughout my internship, figuring out where I’d be living and starting to think about where I wanted to travel over the 4 months I’d be there and all the things that Spain would offer to me. I got anxious and excited about studying abroad, and it made the final weeks of my internship feel like an anticipatory period for what would come next in Spain.
Transitionary periods are not just “anticipatory periods”
That feeling of being in an “anticipatory period” is exactly what takes away from the moment you’re in, and the life that’s happening right now, right in front of you as you’re awaiting what’s next. It makes you so interested in the shiny, new thing that’s coming next, that you forget about how hard you worked to get to the place that you are in that moment.
That’s why right now, as I “await” the next “chapter” of my life, I’m trying my best to remind myself that this “transitionary period” that I’m in right now, is just as much a chapter of life as the start of my full time career is. The things that I learn now, the experiences that I have in these two months and the moments and memories that I create now, are just as valuable as the next life milestone. And so while life milestones are super important, I’m trying my best to do away with the idea of living my life according to them, because they make me forget that life is happening now.
The summer after graduation
Sure, I’m waiting for my job to start. But with that mentality, what next after my job starts? What’s the next life milestone to hit? What comes next in terms of those “chapters” that seem so well laid out by how I’ve organized my life?
There’s so much peace in appreciating the little moments and things in life. Whether it be appreciating a meal, a shared experience with a friend, feeding your pet in the mornings or watering your plants. There’s gonna come a day when you’re gonna wish you could have those little moments again. You’re gonna wish you could complain about the snow and freezing cold temperatures in Ithaca. You’re gonna wish you could walk to the Ithaca Commons one more time. Or you’re gonna wish you could make the 4 hour journey by bus to see your friends in New York City one more time.
Life happens really fast. The past few blog posts, you’ve read through my thoughts about graduating, and I think leaving school has really made me realize that life happens fast, but what’s beautiful about that fact is that life also happens now. As you read this blog post, take in the sights and sounds around you and appreciate the now. Soon, it’ll be the past and it’ll be something that’ll make you nostalgic or possibly something that you’ll even miss.
So this week, don’t let life just pass you by. Appreciate it. Tell someone you love them.
Appreciate the little moments, and don’t let life pass you by. Transitionary periods of life are parts of life too. Don’t let anxiety or even excitement about future events prevent you from enjoying what you’re experiencing now. Don’t let life happen without realizing that it’s happening. Life’s happening now.