I can think of a slew of apt words to describe our experiences in 2020 – surreal, chaotic, nightmarish, paused, transforming, reckoning – but a word that doesn’t fit is “traditional,” and the end of year holidays are synonymous with traditional. This year, those traditions probably seem like colorless and incomplete facsimiles of the real thing. The decorations aren’t as vibrant. The meals are bland without the company of our loved ones. And the feelings of joy are unknowingly stuck on mute.
However, there are a few traditions we can still experience, such as giving, gratitude, reflection, resolutions, and transition to name a few. The tradition that I think is most important for us to lean into this year is transition, and not just simply turning over the calendar for the new year.
Some transitions are so subtle they are imperceptible while other transitions are shocking and leave us disoriented or grieving for the prior circumstance. Regardless of opinions about whether society will “return to normal,” it’s largely agreed that we – as individuals – have been changed by our experiences this year. We have transitioned and continue to transition.
We can use this traditional time of transitions to be more thoughtful and deliberate in how we transition from here. We can be bold and really invest in creating a radical vision for ourselves of what we want to see different in ourselves and our situations.
Maybe it is our mindset, thought patterns, or behaviors. Maybe it is our physical, mental, or spiritual health. Maybe it is our career or our wealth. Maybe it is our relationships, family, or connections with others.
- What is it that you want to transition to?
- Where do you want to see yourself in the next few months, or over the next year?
- Who will your become in this period of transition?
If you have difficulty in imagining a future state, try a visioning exercise or an inventory exercise (like the “junk drawer”).
Whatever our ambitions, we can capitalize on the changing landscape around us as the opportunity to take chances and actively transition ourselves in the process. Instead of simply getting carried by the current of change surrounding us, we can consciously propel ourselves in the direction we desire.
If the prospect of transitioning is bringing up fear or resistance, it might be because it’s difficult to forecast where we will end up after such an abnormal year. So much of this year has felt out of control or unpredictable for many of us. We can overcome the fear and uncertainty of transition if we acknowledge that we are in control of our thoughts, our emotions, and our behaviors, regardless of the changes around us.
The reality is that we do not have the power to get ourselves back to our previous state – BUT – we can transition ourselves to a better state than where we are today. If we create a future vision for ourselves, then we can consciously transition to the person and circumstances that we want.