Word of the Year: Transition

Anyone else feel a wind of change in the air? 

If you’re like me, you feel caught in an awkward transition period right now. You’re absolutely ready to make a change, but still figuring out what that change looks like. 

Hold on, let me backup a bit…

Most of my life transitions have been marked by loss–of a person, a place, a sense of belonging, or, most recently, my beloved Insecure Sunday nights. This time last year was no different. 

I left 2020 with my [metaphorical] edges barely intact. I was beyond exhausted and yearned for something different, much like the Issa Dee in the beginning of Insecure’s season five (and the rest of the world). As I settled into the monotony of adult-life and social distancing, one thing became very clear: the current phase in my life had hit its peak. 

I didn’t believe that I was where I was supposed to be. I wasn’t ready to settle and I didn’t feel challenged; everything just felt…small. Not to mention, the dawn of my thirties all but worsened the anxiety, uncertainty, and insecurity (pun intended) that often comes with life transitions. 

Some things needed to change, and quickly, so I started with the easiest thing: location

With 100% remote work becoming the plan for the foreseeable future (and the advantage of working for an international company), the relocation was very flexible. You should know that when I say “easiest” in no way do I mean it was easy (I touch on this more in my post about relocating). My physical location was the most tangible thing to change, compared to things less concrete and out of my control. 

“You can make all the plans you want but there’s always gonna be some shit.” 

Next on my list to change: my work. I loved my company, but the 2-year itch (one of which was spent navigating the pandemic) became hard to ignore. The plan was, after the move, to transfer to a role in my new location that made better use of my skills. This transition process, however, proved to move much slower than anticipated. When constant turnover, miscommunication, and occasional rejection further delayed my plans, I became discouraged. 

On top of that, I wanted to switch gears in my freelance career; I began to re-evaluate what I enjoyed, what I’m good at, what I’m not, and how much time I spent building other brands at the expense of my own. 

Before I let my situation do irreparable damage to my mental health, I pivoted my effort inward. Is who I am and what I’m doing working for me? How and how not? 

I did do a lot of introspection to answer those questions, which led to countless conversations with myself, God, and my loved ones (still searching for the right therapist, who is next on my list for a convo). Long story short, the work is definitely in progress. 

I try to keep in mind that this process can be rewarding if I prepare when I can, accept when I can’t, set feasible goals, reasonable expectations, and practice compassion along the way. That last part is most difficult, as I haven’t always been the kindest to myself during times of change. 

“I just wanna fast forward to the part of my life when everything’s okay.” …But, I can’t. 

I used to believe that showing myself compassion meant suppressing my emotions (which sounds foolish even as I type it). In other words, I’d occupy my time and tell myself that I wasn’t affected by something thinking that it would make the negative feelings go away. I’ve learned, however, that suppressing things only makes them worse. 

I had a transition in mindset, if you will. Unlike Issa, I don’t have a production team to edit out the roughest parts of my transition.

So guess what that means? I have to roll with the punches in real time. Instead of fighting the fear, discomfort, and not-so-pretty moments, I decided to lean into them.

I had to get tf out of my own head and realize this: I don’t have to navigate anything perfectly. The key to true self-compassion is to accept all of the pain, joy, and everything in between, and handle myself with enough care to allow for growth. 

Now, I embrace transitions because they give me an opportunity to learn and reflect–on my strengths, weaknesses, impact, and what I really want out of life (then balance and adjust accordingly). 

“I know it’s not done yet, and there’s still a long way to go, but I keep thinking about all it took to get here, you know? Doubted myself…going back and forth about what I wanted. Being scared to waste my time and look stupid in case none of it worked out. And then I realized that it was all in my head. No one was doubting me except for me…I had to believe it would work out for it to work.”  

The word for 2021 is transition. I’d be lying if I closed this saying I had everything figured out, but I promise you that things are getting figured. 

As I prepare for the new job, new personal decade, and renewed lust for life that 2022 brings, I’m excited for what the future holds. I’m keeping the promise to myself to eliminate the doubt and bet it all on myself. Word to my girl Kelli, I woke up and chose confidence!

I know it will get uncomfortable at times, but I’m willing to work through it. In the spirit of Mariah Carey, Imma do the best I can with what I got. If you’re reading this, I invite you to do the same into this new year. 

It takes strength and courage to open yourself up to the unpredictable. So honor the process and trust yourself enough to transition into who you are meant to be. 

Through all of the ebbs and flows of life change, just remember:  

Everything’s gonna be, okay! 

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Written by: B. Sierra

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