Fall is a time of transition. The sunny days give way to cooler breezes and beautiful colors. The cycle of life is before our eyes. There are many transitions in life. Some involve simply adjusting to the days getting a bit shorter and others are more complex.
On the surface, we move into task mode. What does this change mean and how do we take action or cope with it? Underneath the surface, many emotions may arise.
When big changes take place, like loss of a loved one, aging, assisting someone who is aging, divorce or even a child leaving for college, we see them concretely in tasks that arise, often involving de-cluttering, or moving furniture or even moving to another residence. Underneath, our own tectonic plates are moving. Not only are we navigating the external world, we are navigating how to metabolize these changes internally. How are we making sense of our world as it is changing shape? How do we steer the ship in unknown waters?
I was working on clearing out my computer the other day, when I came across sets of varied instructions I had given to the home health aide who was caring for my mother who lived in another state. I realized anew that I had been managing every aspect of my mother’s life from a physical standpoint and at times emotional as well. That meant in addition to caring for my family and working, I had another full time job.
From an external view, it was about priorities, love and managing all the balls in the air as best I could. Did things slip through the cracks? Yes. But everyone’s health and safety stayed afloat. In addition, huge questions and role transitions were taking place.
Every day in my practice, I speak with or see someone going through a major life transition. There is no rulebook, but there are guides. It is important to hire people, when you can, to help sort out the complexities. My colleague, Penny Catterall of Order Your Life, who I use for help with organizing my life, has been indispensable to those going through these kinds of transitions from moves, to downsizing, to helping with the paperwork (medical forms, bill payment, culling files, etc.) that there just isn’t time to do when you are focused on major unexpected and sometimes expected life events.
Whether it’s divorce, a child leaving for college or being an adult parent in a care-giving situation learning how to be a respectful advocate, remember to reach out and get the help you need whether it is coaching, counseling, geriatric consulting or organizing and administrative. Don’t do it alone.