Eve of Tuesday 2011 (Transitions)

This post is now firmly an annual affair. However, the writing this year has been more challenging as there are a number of posts I have started in the past three weeks, but none have made it to completion. Thus, this post, somewhat unsuccessfully, bears the weight of those, while trying to stay true to the Labour Day theme established in previous years (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010). The result is the following.

The Tuesday is nearly upon us and transition is in our thoughts and actions. Each Eve of Tuesday post in years past has made some reference to transition (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010), but this year the concept seems to be a particular focus. As you approach tomorrow’s renewal you likely have some thoughts and feelings of transition as well. The academic year, and sport seasons that so many of us follow, reach a point of change on this date or in the approaching weeks. As usual, it is important to take stock of where we have been. I know that so many of you have been on adventures again this summer. Some have left for new homes. Some welcomed new family members. Some went abroad. Some of you volunteered. Some of you set goals around health and fitness. Some of you spent quality time with family and loved ones. Some of you went into the outdoors. Many of us took risks, and experienced new adventures. Congratulations! I am so fortunate to know so many extraordinary people who strike out and engage in adventures and renewal! We shall carry our summer with us into the coming transitions. This includes carrying its victories, defeats, experiences of growth, celebrations, and trials. New jobs, new challenges, new schools, new teams, new relationships, fresh starts – all of these we will face with greater courage because of our summer, the past twelve months, and all the preceding years that have brought us to this point. We face times of transition not with mysterious strength, or merely depending on luck to steer us through unchartered experiences. Instead, we enter with the strength we have built through our past experiences, relationships, and previous transitions.

Perhaps one of the important factors of transition we are getting at here is growth. It is a topic that has been on my mind quite a lot lately. I was fortunate to go on an adventure this summer that allowed me to experience a completely new type of interconnected growth. In working with teaching colleagues from Canada and Kenya to further professional development, I experienced personal, social, emotional and professional growth. At the same time I witnessed, and was a part of other people’s growth in all of these areas, as well as the growth of community. However, I believe the effectiveness of this growth would not be fully realized if I was not able to capitalize on some transition time between that adventure, and beginning a new adventure tomorrow. The reflections, conversations, recuperation, and questions of that transition time have allowed the growth to fully set in. Now, as I transition into tackling the challenges and adventures of the next few weeks and coming year I know that I will call upon the new resources that this growth has provided. (The complete analysis of how growth and transition are interconnected is best left to another time otherwise this Labour Day post would turn into chapters).

For now, let us look towards tomorrow, the coming weeks, the twelve months ahead, and the excitement, nervousness and challenges that we are all no doubt faced with on some level. As usual, the foremost reminder is to be willing to turn to those around you for help. Times of transition are better managed with support. Further than this though, is recognizing what type of support you can give yourself. A few minutes ago I read an email from a travel mate – one who was an integral aspect of some much needed transition time I spent in London a couple of weeks ago. With the Tuesday and all the busy times of the autumn looming, a line in his email clearly reminded me to ask myself “What do I need?” It’s a question we should all be asking ourselves when we face transition, adventure, and challenges. It is not selfish to make sure we take care of ourselves. Often we remind each other “take care of yourself” “watch out for yourself”, but often we do not heed our very own advice – as more than one of you have reminded me recently. Transitions can be a costly event, but if we do not pay the price in taking care of ourselves during the time of transition – emotionally, physically, socially and mentally – then we will pay the price later in exhaustion, stress, or disorganization. The result will be an inability to be at our best, either for ourselves, or those we care about. In other words, at the time of transition, at the time of change, is when one should take the most care to ensure optimal health, and optimal growth.

Have a wonderful Tuesday. Take care of yourself and each other. I look forward to hearing about your coming adventures and experiences – please keep me up to date. I am excited about this year. While it may be sounding cliché, the words are true: we will accomplish a lot this year, together.

As has become the custom, some music will conclude our Labour Day post. Two songs this year. The first, a classic, speaks of courage, as that’s what we need sometimes to take care of ourselves. (The video also, begrudgingly subtly recognizes the Cup champs). Then, even with the holiday ending for many that read here, the second song reminds us to have fun!! (Come’on youz gotz to smile at playing with baby animals, regardless of the safety factor). After all that blah blah blah above, it’s a good take home message for tomorrow and beyond: have fun!

The Tragically Hip and Wezzer take us out then…

Peace and love – a bientôt,
IR 🙂

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7 thoughts on “Eve of Tuesday 2011 (Transitions)

  1. Thanks for your thoughts, Ian. Stress comes in many forms, including when something is new, fabulous, and/or changing for the better. In some ways we know what we’re getting into as this school year begins, and in some ways we will never know. How to keep looking forward and progressing as individuals when so much has transpired in the past that we reflect on (purposefully, or needlessly)? Thank goodness we can lean on each other and confide, conspire, & commiserate.

    You’re a great friend and colleague. I wish the best year for us both! 🙂

    • Thank you for your comment Elaan (and the alliteration – big fan of alliteration!) The unknown is an important ingredient in making our adventures worthwhile, but yes it can lead to various degrees of stress. Perhaps it is important to do just what you have done here – remind ourselves that we signed up for a certain degree of unknown, otherwise we wouldn’t have gone on an adventure in the first place. The creation of joy doesn’t come with a completely spelled out recipe beforehand.

      I have no ready answer to the question of whether some reflection is needless, but it does highlight the unhealthiness of “dwelling” which I think could be different than reflecting. Support from friends and colleagues is important in making sure “reflecting” doesn’t slip into “dwelling”.

      Personally – I am fortunate to count on some excellent friends and colleagues for that support – including you! I hope we all are able to!

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