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Last week, I started a series on transitions. These concepts are based on Dr. William Bridges’s ideas. This week, I will continue the series.

  1. Dismantling: When our lives are defined by the circumstances, such as a career or marriage, we establish certain habits. During my full time working days, I had a certain morning routine that had been perfected for optimum time management. The day after I retired started the same way, except that I wasn’t going anywhere. A sense of emptiness came over me. Thankfully, I had a big project lined up at home, so I treated it like work and kept going. Eventually, I created a new morning routine that was better aligned my new life.

    If you are going through a big life change, consider how your old habits might contribute to the resistance you may feel.

  2. Disidentification: In our culture, most of us identify ourselves with our work. I’ve had many clients express dismay about losing their identity after retirement. I too had the same issue for a while. One day I was an Assistant Vice President at a university, the next day who? One of my clients said “Today I turned in my papers. I’m no longer an attorney. I don’t know who I am.” And another, “I used to be an accountant, I don’t want to be just a grandma.”

    Dr. Bridges puts it this way: “Clearly, the old identity stands in the way of transition – and of transformation and self renewal.”

    A big life change is a good time to discover who we are as a person outside of our old circumstances. A good support structure, such as a close family member or a friend, or better yet an objective observer such as a coach would be very helpful in this situation.

    May your transitions be smooth.


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