Life is Filled With Transitions

Life is filled with transitions . . .

~ By Sharon Sheppard

Expanding or downsizing.

Starting a family or emptying the nest.

Starting a first job or retiring from a lifetime of working.

Sudden or long-anticipated.  Carefully planned for or blindsided.

Whether change is chosen or thrust upon us, delightful or tragic, change can be bewildering.

No matter how excited we may have been about that first job, when the day came, it was terrifying.

One of the scariest days of my life was my first day of teaching.  I was afraid those college students would quickly figure out that I didn’t know what I was doing.  And then what?

When I walked our youngest child to her first day of kindergarten, I heaved a huge sigh of relief, but I cried all the way back home.

I learned many things from my wise husband.  For example, when I dreaded something, he’s ask, “What’s the worst thing that could happen?”  And then, “What are the chances of that happening?”

When bad things happened, he’d say, “Is there a silver lining to this?” “What can we learn from it?”

Before I became a widow, my husband worked hard to prepare me.  But even though his preparation was enormously helpful, I found that few things could truly prepare me for the tremendous sense of loss.  Though I will never truly “have it all together,” here are a few things I’ve learned from my transition to living alone:

  • If you are a person of faith, cling to God. Let Him become more real to you than He has ever been before.
  • Become your own best friend. Learn to savor aloneness by developing hobbies, interests, and inner resources that don’t necessarily depend on other people.  What have you always wanted to do?  What gifts or interests do you have that you’ve never fully developed? Travel?  Music?  Fitness? Crafts?
  • Find new purpose in life, a reason for living. This may involve volunteering, reaching out to others in need, helping others less fortunate than you.  You’d be surprised at what a difference a change in focus can make.
  • Cultivate your senses and learn to savor—new tastes, textures, aromas, musical (either as a performer or a connoisseur).
  • Don’t wait for others to come to you, reach out. But work toward creating a balance between enjoying your own company and enjoying the company of others.


Alice Koller says, “Being solitary is being alone well:  luxuriously immersed in doings of your own choice….  Solitude is an achievement.  It is your distinctive way of embodying the purposes you have chosen for your life.”