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It's important to be silly, to be serious, to be strong, to be frail...for what is life if we only shared a mask?

Friday, February 26, 2010

On Transition, Choices and The Four Year Plan

When January finally bid adieu and Feb came skipping along, I thought let's hope this month is not attention deficit and hyperactive. Feb is coming to an end and while it is the month to muse on the path with heart, it has also been the month of transition.

A month of reviewing, clearing and creating space. With two daughters heading into middle and high school in August, I watched them start to gather information about what they plan to do next. It is not easy this place of transition.

My FB status update for Feb 10 went something like this. "This is transition week. We have schools giving me input on what we need to know so our kids will have a smooth move into their new schools in August. And they have it so well mapped out. How come adults never get any transition training to deal with work life and that fine balance?"

In retrospect, the information is out there. There are enough career fairs, open houses, information interviews. Planning is everything. I completely agree, but the toughest part is to sift the information and pick up what is relevant for you.

I still remember my transition period during school. I had no idea what I wanted to do but I knew what I couldn't do. I couldn't get the least bit motivated to study commerce. I had signed up for it. Spent a week in that class when I knew by the end of Day 1 that this was not me. Picked up my bags and scooted over to liberal arts to study literature and sociology where I kid you not, my heart sang.

Funny thing happens when the heart sings. You actually spend more time doing your work and less time feeling tired. This was what I wanted my girls to understand about transition week and making choices that push them gently forward. One step closer to defining what would make their heart sing.

I also liked the fact that my daughter going into high school actually gets to look at a four year plan. While she focuses on her immediate future, she also gets to plan the next three years. Hopefully it will give her the chance to experiment, eliminate, extricate and emerge a little closer to understanding how to find that elusive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Experiment - Think buffet. Sometimes it's overwhelming to see the array of food heaped in front of you. But you get to taste variety instead of a la carte. Then go back and and eat more of what you like.

Eliminate - If you can't figure what you want to do, work backwards and try to figure out what you don't like. Then remember to write that down. Many people get stuck in repetitive cycles and wonder why nothing has changed.

Extricate - If you have made a choice and that doesn't sit well with you, then have the courage to acknowledge that you have made a mistake and course correct.

So while she is heads down, figuring out her four year plan, I am revisting mine. And in the words of Jon Bon Jovi, we will both "Map out our future, but do it in pencil."


  1. Brown Girl - nice post. I totally identified with it. I think as adults we tend equate extrication with failure and end up in the proverbial rut.

  2. Glad you liked it and well said! What's done cannot be undone but we can always navigate a different path.