I’ve enjoyed taking note of my friends’ and colleagues’ well-considered Word of the Year in the past, but had never participated. Hearing their successes and how having a specially selected unit of language impacted them throughout 365 days motivated me to consider my own choice this December 31.
How do I want to look at 2020 and the beginning of this exciting decade? What can we expect? Will these 20’s be roaring? Has life ever been more uncertain?
More and more, one word has been reverberating in my mind: TRANSITION.
Checking the dictionary and thesaurus, I found that its synonyms are change, conversion, development, evolution, growth, passage, progress, shifting, transformation and moving from one place to another. These underscored how precisely this word fits me for the year ahead. The work I do, and who I am, is all about change, growth and supporting others and myself through those challenges.
The word transition first had great impact on me when I was pregnant with my oldest child many moons ago. In my childbirth classes we learned that during the birth process there are three stages: labor, transition and delivery (expulsion). Labor covers the hours of contractions that you hear most about:13 hours my first time, but for some, “We barely made it to the hospital!” You’ve likely seen pictures of delivery– the baby’s head crowning or the obstetrician holding up the newborn with the umbilical cord dangling.
What isn’t talked about as much, nor photographed, is the hellish time called transition–the period between labor and delivery. In class we were told that this is when women wish that they could stop the process, leave the hospital, and forget the whole damn thing. The time between the hard labor and the actual birth–transition–is the most difficult for the laboring mother. It’s blessedly short and incredibly painful. But what comes next is the miracle of birth.
I keep this word and image in my mind personally and with my clients. I love the quote, “Don’t quit before the miracle!” because it’s so tempting to ditch it all when it becomes unbearably hard. Getting through transitions are the toughest times we face in our lives. Whether it’s waiting for a mortgage to come through, getting results from the doctor, or preparing a contract for a client to sign. The pain of not knowing, projecting negative outcomes, or what-if’s can be excruciating. I rely on those closest to me to carry me through these periods of time. They constantly remind me that there are greater forces at work on my behalf, even if I’m not thrilled with the outcome.
So why would I choose THAT word to keep front and center for a year? Because that’s the moment that contains the grace, the miracle, the wherewithal or grit to endure. I believe that it’s in transitions that the magic of the universe, or whatever you call it, partners with you to bring the marvel of birth that will follow.
I want to be with you during your transitions, and I want to be with myself during mine. Keeping TRANSITION front and center in 2020 will ease its scariness and remind me of its place in relation to the extraordinary event that’s coming.