The Pains of Transitions

carrides growth transition

There is no way to make that transition easier because, even accepting its necessity, the person you are is ending. The new person will be glad you made the sacrifice, but the person dying will balk at it.

Traumas can be good and bad. Psychologists consider getting married a trauma, even though it is generally blissful, because it is a massive change in the way we relate to ourselves, our partners, and the world around us. It causes emotional stress by virtue of these changes, even though it is joyous.

My traumas had to to with my relationship with my girlfriend as well as my vision of myself. I was faced with the choice of either continuing to be unhappy, constantly repeating the same mistakes I'd been making for the two decades of my life, or to die and be reborn with new habits and behaviors.

I chose the latter. Two decades is long enough to relive the same pattern over and over, like an episode of The Twilight Zone about time travel gone horribly wrong.


In modern life, travel frequently accompanies these life changes. We head off to college in a different state, take a new job, move abroad, or travel the world after we quit a job.

The movement shakes things up and clears our heads. It also forces us to clear out our closets because we can only carry so much with us. We have to decide was is central and what is merely window dressing.

My shifting this time was a car ride from Colorado to New York. I like road trips because you spend a lot of time sitting and doing nothing, just watching the land roll by. You're in the middle of nowhere for much of the journey, which gives you a sense of separateness and allows you to look over things with some objectivity.

For me, this trip marked a very big transition, the end of an era I think. I finally decided it was time to take responsibility for myself (though I didn't realize I hadn't been until the moment I decided to start). Part of that was because my image of adulthood wasn't especially empowering: working late, the drudgery of insurance and taxes and bills, being shackled to a 'responsible' life and caring for a family.

Shifting through travel allows us to reset and make space for the new life. We can break off (or at least pause) the expectations, communities, behaviors, relationships, and habits that have grown around the life we are leaving, within which it is entrenched.

Shifting might not be travel. It can be anything that lets you hit the reset button by stepping outside of the structures you've built around yourself. Afterwards, you can either build new ones or reassess how you want the old ones to work.


Then comes the hard work of building something, or changing something old to make it in line with the new lessons and powers the hero has gained in his or her journey through the underworld.

Even though we're not talking about death or leaving things behind, the building is also difficult. We are tempted to turn back to the familiarity of known patterns, or to use them in building something new, but if we are to commit to our new direction, we must reject them, no matter how much we question ourselves, no matter how readily the old ways offer answers.

I am often surprised at how easily I forget the problems with my old habits when it comes time to adopt new ones. When the real difficulties of starting something new surface, all I can remember of the old ways are good times and easy living. My memory becomes highly selective as my unconscious tries to do everything it can to escape the stress of newness.

For me, the answer lies in accepting that it takes time to become comfortable with new ways of being.


I feel like this is the end of Warrior Spirit as initially envisioned, a blog written by a boy fresh out of college seeking his path and direction. I see it maturing, though for the next few months, there may be some growing pains.

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