This weekend, I attended a lovely wedding. As I watched the bride and groom exchange vows and celebrate in a way that was as unique, fun and special as they are, I got to thinking about transitions. As we move from one way of being to another, does it matter how we mark the change?
There are some occasions – weddings, graduations, birthdays – that are celebrated with ritual and tradition. By dressing unusually or singing a particular song or … let’s face it, eating cake, we publicly acknowledge a transition taking place. We have completed our degree. We are a year older. We have joined our lives with another.
But there are transitions happening all the time in life. Sometimes we notice it, sometimes we can only see difference after the passage of time. We’re getting older each day, after all. Summer slips into fall hour by hour, day by day. The miles tick away on our odometers, making our new cars old.
What if we paid attention more often? Parents with a small child rather obsessively notice every milestone and achievement their baby reaches. But without the adorableness of a first step or a first word, we stop seeing the changes. What if we were aware of the moment when a relationship is growing distant or when we’re ready for the next step? What if we woke up one morning and decided to celebrate that we’re ready to make a change in our lifestyle, or reach out to another?
There’s no ritual for every transition. But there can be rituals for stopping to look around at your life, to notice what’s different, to pay attention to what’s good and what could be better.
Maybe it’s a journal or an inventory of your social media posts. Maybe it’s a cup of coffee and conversation with your beloved or a visit to a place that reminds you of what you once were.
Whatever the method, marking a transition helps to make inevitable change less frightening. Change becomes something you participate in rather than something that just happens to you. You’ll never get this day back, but if you paid attention to today, you don’t need tomorrow to be the same as yesterday.
Picture taken by me with an iPhone