November 10, 2014 Brooke Mandseth


Hmph. You know, I’ve thrown this word around a ton in my counselling career, I think I even reference this lovely word on my new, beautiful website. I may even recall myself talking about them to clients. Little beauties such as “transitions are challenging, whether they are positive changes or negative” or “you’re in the middle of a transition so no wonder you feel sad/happy/anxious/depressed/lost/confused/angry, etc.”.

Now that I am in the middle of about 50 million of them, I remember how much it sucks to be in the midst of the “transition”. Yes, most of them are positive, but come on. Here is a running list.

1) We moved from the urban prairies in Alberta to a rural area in south central British Columbia. Positives? We are now surrounded by beautiful mountains, a lake void of “beaver fever”, nature gorgeousness at every turn, and an abundance of fresh, brisk air. Negatives? Um, I have to pay for health care? Why have teachers been on strike for 3 months? Where is Costco, and most importantly, Homesense? PST? What? I am experiencing some culture shock and am grieving the loss of my familiar low cost, mass produced food items and home décor.

2) My daughter (eventually) started Kindergarden this year. Spontaneous crying, gut-wrenching anxiety and brief panic attacks. For me. And watching some stranger drive off with her on a big yellow death machine, otherwise known as a school bus. Positives? My daughter loves school, she needs other input other than the sage wisdom of her parents and brother, and she is gone 6 HOURS A DAY. Hallelujah full day K in BC. Negatives? As mentioned above. Oh, and watching my firstborn go through some struggles that she needs to figure out without my immediate intervention.

3) I am becoming the breadwinner, my husband is staying at home. Temporarily. Enough said. I’ll throw out the word gender stereotypes here and use your imagination about what happens in a household where these stereotypes get rocked. Positive? I AM FREE FOR THREE DAYS A WEEK!!! I stayed home for 5 years and kudos to mama’s out there who love it and do it longer. I’m spent.

4) Getting settled in a new home. The home that I have taken over from my now separated parents. Nuff said. Transition away.

5) Adjusting to long distance friendships and family. Positives? Quality of time with friends and family when you do get to see them. Negatives? Relationships that change and drift. For my husband, adjusting to being away from his family for the first time.

I could go on. But those are the top 5 whoppers. I could draw you interconnected charts, map out the ripple effects of all of these transitions, but I won’t waste any more of your time.

Deep breath in, take a look at the view, slow down, self-care. I’m developing my new found passions in doing things that ground me, that get me in my body, as I am feeling a bit frazzled, stressed, sad, lost, happy, excited, peaceful, doubtful, angry, etc., etc., etc.. Yoga, meditation, running, strength building, kayaking, and lo and behold, painting and distressing antique furniture. Who knew.

My experience in these many transitions is that it creates this vortex of chaos that I am sometimes ok to watch unfold, or sometimes am desperate to stop. And bouncing between the two rapidly. Instead, and just know this, that in the midst of chaos, if you let yourself just breathe and do the things that get you back into your body, get you grounded, you’ll find your way back home.

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